Tuesday, February 2, 2010

US Mountain Running Team member Matt Byrne 3rd at Empire State Run-up

Matt Byrne (pictured left) also finished 42nd at the 2009 World Mountain Running Championships. Here's the full story from Race Results Weekly:

By David Monti

NEW YORK (02-Feb) -- Germany's Thomas Dold and New Zealand's Melissa Moon dominated the 33rd edition of the Empire State Building Run-Up here, handily winning their divisions in the world's most famous stair-climbing event.

Dold, 25, from Stuttgart, won the event for the fifth consecutive time, clocking 10 minutes and 16 seconds and beating his closest rival, compatriot Matthias Jahn, by 40 seconds. He took the lead immediately after entering the stairwell from the building's marble lobby, and never looked back as he climbed 1,576 steps to the 86th floor outdoor observatory.

"It's unbelievable," said Dold in English of his fifth victory, still coughing out the dust he inhaled in the building's stairwell. "It's so huge part of my life."

Dold, who has competed in this event six times, said it was his dedicated focus on this particular race, which climbs 1,050 vertical feet (320m), which makes him a winner.

"You have to concentrate every year on just one day," he said.

Dold is now tied with Australian Paul Crake with five titles, but the German has never come close to Crake's event record of 9 minutes and 33 seconds set in 2003. Crake, who was paralyzed in a bicycle racing accident in 2006, broke ten minutes four times.

Matt Byrne, 34, of Philadelphia, finished third and was the top American. Byrne, who was a 2008 USA Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, ran here today just to switch up his training routine.

"I'm trying to do some different things the past few years," he said of his 11 minute and 29 second performance.

Unlike Dold, Moon had never competed at the Run-Up before. The forty-year-old mountain runner from Wellington has competed in a few other tower races, but had always wanted to compete here.

"I've had a taste of stair racing," she told reporters not looking the least bit tired. "I mean, if you've done a few stair races around the world, everyone always talks about, 'Have you ever done the Empire State Building?' It really is the most iconic stair race around."

Moon started conservatively, but said that she eased into the lead by the 20th floor. From there she stayed relaxed, emerging from the stairwell into the cold February air with a 40 second lead. She clocked 13:13 for her victory, well ahead of second place Gretchen Grindle Hurlbutt of New York City (13:53), a 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier. Amy Fredericks of Stamford, Conn., finished third (14:15).

Moon has had a varied and distinguished running career, which began on the track (she was the New Zealand 5000m champion in 1999 and 2001), but moved to mountain running where she was a world-beater. She won the World Mountain Running Trophy in 2001 and 2003, and in 2001 was named New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year.

Nonetheless, Moon considered today's win very special, too. "It will go to the top of my running C.V.," she said. "It's the most prestigious thing I've done."

No comments: