Australian, German win Empire State Building race

Tue Feb 3, 2009 5:55pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Australian Suzy Walsham claimed the woman's title for the third year in a row and Thomas Dold of Germany won his fourth consecutive men's crown on Tuesday in the 32nd annual Empire State Building Run-Up.

Walsham dashed up 1,576 steps to the observation deck on the 86th floor despite an earlier collision in the skyscraper's lobby that sent her slamming into a marble wall and down to the floor.

"I was in pain and shock," Walsham, 35, said. "But then I said 'I didn't come all this way to pull out, so I'll just concentrate on passing the women in front of me.'"

Walsham took the lead with about 20 floors to go before crossing the finish line in a time of 13 minutes 27 seconds, 13 seconds ahead of second-placed Daniela Vassalli of Italy.

She received medical attention for a swollen nose, lip, and left knee, but was able to accept her trophy on the podium alongside Dold, who finished in 10:07, ahead of Marco De Gasperi of Italy in 10:29.

"The pain is just for a few minutes and the victory is for years and years," said Walsham.

A total of 249 runners representing 17 countries finished the New York Road Runners' race.

(Writing by Larry Fine, Editing by Patricia Reaney)