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Vertical Rush: running up Tower 42

Posted at 3:30 pm, March 5, 2013 in Fun London

Get a load of this lovely day. Doesn’t London look beautiful? Well you should see it from 42 stories high. That’s what I did this morning along with around 1,000 other people who ran up the 920 steps of the skyscraper Tower 42 as part of Vertical Rush in aid of Shelter.

Stair running is a lunch time sport practiced by many city workers – there are competitions, experts and even world champions. The video on Shelter’s website showed a relaxed Jon Snow saying he’d run up in 11 minutes. He made it sound easy. However, waiting at the start line warming up alongside an accompanying brass band playing ‘Eye of the Tiger’ I started getting scared. People were wearing special trainers, watches and doing stretches. I didn’t know what stair runners wear so I wore leg warmers and went for the Leroy from ‘Fame’ look. A lot of people were there in work teams and clearly freaked out by seeing their normally suited colleagues in shorts.

 Boris Johnson and Miss England were there to let off the starting klaxon. Miss England had done the run this morning in 9.58 minutes. Wearing her tiara and heels, I like to think.

Suddenly it was time to go and we were all let go one by one to prevent a build up. I started legging it up two steps at a time; that lasted about three floors. Running up stairs is hard. There were markers on the way up telling you that you were as high as Shakespeare’s Globe, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, half way… I stopped looking. My ears started popping so I knew I must be high. When I finally reached the top the view was breathtaking. Pictures can’t do it justice.

Although it’s tough, it’s a lot of fun and I will from here on boast that I’ve run up that skyscraper EVERY TIME I pass it. I might even start a lunchtime stair running club here at Time Out Towers. Although as we only have eight floors we could only ever reach the heights of amateurs. What was my time? I beat Jon Snow and Miss England. Just. At 9.17 minutes, which I hope to beat next year. Jude Brosnan

For more info, see shelter.org.uk/verticalrush.

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