Conquering skyscrapers to keep fit

Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:05am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Although they may be unable to leap tall buildings in a single bound, enthusiasts of tower climbing insist they can conquer skyscrapers, and stay fit, just by taking the stairs.

When it comes to multi-story run-ups, the higher the rise, they say, the richer the challenge.

"They call it the vertical marathon," New York-based securities analyst Brian Kuritzky said of his maiden climb up the 1,576 steps of the Empire State Building. "I have a lot of pride for the city, so to do a race up its most iconic item was special for me."

Kuritzky, who on a spur-of-the-moment bet tackled the Iron Man triathlon competition last year, is no stranger to a workout challenge.

But he described last month's Empire State Building Run up, in which 440 finishers triumphed, as "very intense, very tough."

It was also very compact.

"The Iron Man took almost 16 hours, so to be done in 13.37 minutes is very appealing," he said of his time, "and to have the challenge as well is very cool."

To prepare for his run, Kuritzsky thrice scaled the stairs of his 30-storey apartment building in downtown Manhattan just so he could get a sense of the distance and how his legs would feel. Then he did it again.   Continued...

<p>The sun sets on the skyline of Manhattan in New York, March 19, 2011. The Empire State Building is seen in the center. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn</p>