The first Empire State Building Run-up was held in 1978.
According to the New York Road Runners Club, it is the most known and the oldest
stair race of its kind. Participants race up 1,576 steps (nearly a quarter-mile) to the Observatory
deck on the 86th floor.
The race is by invitation only. The New York Runners Club selects a limited number of runners from all applicants. Participants include
regular NYC residents as well as a selection of runners from other various popular
races. The run-up is considered to be a very challenging event, in many
ways even tougher than a marathon since runners have to make it to
the top of the stairs.
The race begins in the lobby as a mass start in two waves. Women
are given a five minute head start over the men. The altitude difference is 303m.
Some Empire State Building Run-Up quick facts:
• The race climbs 1,050 feet, or approximately 1/5 mile.
• The 86 flights make up a total of 1,576 steps (18-19 steps per flight).
• Soaring 102 stories and 1,454 feet above Midtown Manhattan, the
Empire State Building is the world’s most famous office building,
and one of the tallest buildings in New York City.
• The Empire State Building opened to the public on May 1, 1931.
• Visitors reach the Observatory, on the 86th floor, by elevator
in less than a minute.
• Gary Muhrcke (12:33) and Marcy Schwamm (16:04) were winners
of the inaugural Run-Up, in 1978. Muhrcke also won the inaugural NYC Marathon in 1970.
• The fastest-ever Empire State Building Run-Up finisher, Paul
Crake of Australia, reached the Observation Deck in 9 minutes, 33 seconds,
in 2003. The women’s record of 11:23 was set in 2006 by Andrea Mayr
• In 2012, Thomas Dold, of Germany won his seventh consecutive
title. Runners Al Waquie of the United States (1983–87) and Paul Crake
of Australia (1999–2003) tie for second place with five wins each.
• In 2014, Suzy Walsham, of Australia became the first woman to win the competition for a fifth time (2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, and 2014). Cindy Moll-Harris is in second place with four wins (1998, 2000, 2001, and 2003).