Australians win race to top of Empire State Building

Wed Feb 6, 2013 11:21pm EST
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Australians Mark Bourne and Suzy Walsham were the fastest man and woman to race up the 1,576 steps of the Empire State Building on Wednesday in the run up of the iconic New York landmark.

Bourne finished in 10 minutes, 12 seconds and Walsham clocked 12:05 in the race up 86 floors that is described as a vertical marathon, the New York Road Runner (NYRR), which organizes the annual Empire State Building Run-Up, said.

About 600 runners from 18 countries took part in the race, now in its 36th year.

"Obviously I'm very happy to win and it's nice to have all the training pay off," said Bourne. "I wanted to pace myself well and fortunately it paid off."

Four-time champion Walsham was equally elated.

"I had a bear on my back after my crash in 2009 and I trained specifically for this race. It's a personal best time for me and I couldn't be happier," said Walsham who lives in Singapore.

Australian Darren Wilson came in second among the men, followed by Ricky Gates of San Francisco. Brooke Logan of Australia was the second woman to reach the top, ahead of Erika Aklufi, of Los Angeles, who placed third.

German Thomas Dold, the defending men's champion who has won the race a record seven times, did not compete because of illness.   Continued...

Mark Bourne of Australia reacts as he crosses the finish line on the observation deck of the 86th floor of the Empire State Building in New York City to win the 36th Empire State Building Run-Up running race, February 6, 2013. REUTERS/Adam Hunger