Eureka Tower Climb 2014 – Elite Race Report

What a day! Not even the gusty winds and icy rain could stop over 2500 stair climbers from climbing the 1642 steps, 88 floors and 300 vertical meters of Melbourne’s Eureka Tower on Sunday 16th November, 2014. Kicking off proceedings was a cracking field of elite climbers from all over Australia and the world including current world stair climbing champions Mark Bourne, Darren Wilson and Alice McNamara.

The elite event was an invitation only race where athletes had to apply for eligibility which created a very strong field of elite climbers carrying a broad variety of racing back grounds including world level cycling, mountain running, distance running and elite rowing.

The field was set to go at 6:45am with many determined faces lining up ready to have a crack at a PB knowing that first place would be fought out between 3 time winner Mark Bourne of Canberra and 3 time runner up Darren Wilson of Adelaide. This year would prove to be one of the best fields to date with most of the field having climbed sub 10 minutes in previous outings, so the pressure was on for the hot field. After a detailed race briefing the climbers were released into the stairwell every 20 seconds to run there own race against the clock.

From discussions with fellow elites there was a common theme across the field stating that this years climb was harder than previous years even though the stairwell doesn’t change so maybe it had something to do with the colder weather? With a staggered start it made for a very lonely race with the motivation driven towards beating the clock, harnessing the build up of lactate and trying to maintain a strong pace to the finish. Three-time winner Mark Bourne would once again prove to be the strongest on the day beating Darren Wilson by 14 seconds in a winning time of 7 minutes 49 seconds with professional cyclist Chris Fry recording a 60 second personal best to land 3rd place.

As for the rest of the field, the competition was tight with all of the male elite climbers running under 10 minutes 30 seconds, which is a first in the climbs history. There were many personal best times recorded in the elite field which hopefully fuels the fire for next years event!

In the women’s event the standout performance was from Olympic rower and race record holder Alice McNamara recording a time of 10 minutes and 4 seconds ahead of stair climbing enthusiast Anita Rodd from Ballarat and Geelong runner Carolyn Scott. Much like the men’s race, many of the women climbers recorded significant personal best times and showed that we are only getting faster every year!

A special mention must go out to the age group winners who recorded some excellent times, many of which were of an elite standard.

At Stair Climbing Australia we would like to congratulate everyone who participated in the 2014 Eureka Tower Climb and we are so excited to see so many like minded people take on the challenge of climbing Melbourne’s tallest skyscraper. We certainly hope it encourages you to look at traveling around Australia and joining us in climbing some of the countries other high-rise buildings and experiencing some of the different stair climbing challenges our sport has to offer. This is a sport for any fitness enthusiast and is extremely rewarding, keeps you really fit and allows you to see many of Australia’s capital cities from the highest points in the country!

Well done Stair Climbers and we hope to see you at Q1 ‘Sea To Sky’ on Sunday 22nd February 2015.

Please have a read of what some of our fellow stair climbers had to say about the Eureka Tower Stair Climb 2014…

Scott McGraw – Pulled up well, I like that about the stairs – low impact on the legs, although high impact on respiratory tract! Knowing I wasn’t 100% I tried to play it a bit more conservatively yesterday in the early stages and also experimented with alternating each level between free running and walking while grabbing rail with my right hand. My recent trek in Nepal where I spent 7 days over 2,000m with a high point of 4,650m must have had some value because I’m really happy with my time (less than 20 sec off PB). The subsequent climbs were ok, although I have to admit that the 3rd climb, in Full Kit and BA never felt good, although I managed to be 2nd fastest firefighter on day, 6secs off winner.

Chris Fry – It’s a tough race that never gets any easier… averaging 189 bpm for 9 minutes took its toll on my body, I felt like I was going to be sick for at least 30min post run.
Soon enough the ill feeling subsided and my thoughts turned to how can I improve for next year? Bring it on.

Peter Bartlett – Brutal event even at my 4th attempt! Managed to grab a PB at 9.30, but more importantly got to do it for the first time with my 12yo daughter who powered through for a 15.35. A fantastic experience and a great event to do with your kids.

Darryl Luck – First Eureka. Steep stairs cooked my legs early on. Made the mistake of grabbing a water at the first point, couldn’t breathe, climb and drink and then got a stitch about 30 floors later…lesson learned. Great climb. Found a weakness. Met tons of great people over the weekend!

Maria Pia – My 5th Eureka climb and my PB of 16.14. I was initially disappointed I didn’t do sub 16 but after I got over that, I was happy with doing double steps the whole 88 floors and I’m came 8th in my category! Next year I am aiming for sub 16 and in hopefully closer to 5th in my category. I work all year to toward a PB for Eureka. Love this climb. Have done Interstate climbs for the 1st time this year and Eureka is still the best Bigger and better for 2015

Ali Irvine – It was great! My first stair-climbing event and I made it to the top without having to stop! The thing that surprised me was that my breathing felt terrible and my legs felt fine! Great view from the top and a great fitness challenge. Would love to try and beat my time next year.

Kyle Parker – Second climb of similar distance, first in full gear. That made us pace it a bit more and drop to single step walking most of the way instead of double step running as I’d been training. Legs felt much better than I expected and better than the Sydney Tower one I did in running gear, but much more stress on breathing/heart rate and heat. Pleased that we went under 20mins and were tucked in behind another group and didn’t stop. Reckon I could shave another couple of minutes off next year. Might even be crazy enough to double run it next time so I can do it without all the extra gear.

Mel Nicholson – My second time this year but talked my husband and 12 year old son into joining (and just found out he was the second youngest!). I stuck with my boy so didn’t beat my last time but we still did it in 20.19 which was under his goal of 25mins. Very proud mum…but should have run it again! Bring on next year!

Peter Stewart – My 3rd year climbing Eureka. Climbed it twice this time. Love the stairwell. Met some new faces and caught up with some SCA regulars. SCA singlets are awesome.

Angelina Prountzos – Such a beautiful stairwell! Loved every minute! Plus SCA singlets look AMAZE!!!

Carol Alvaro – Love it my second had so much fun even my 16 year old did it and love it volunteers where Awesome!

Janyce O’Keeffe – My first stair climb also! Still on a high! Stoked with my time 13.53 & the entire experience. Totally a mind exercise. Felt fine, did not look at floors, only levels 40 & 70. Cannot wait to do it again, would love to train on stairs in CBD if anyone out there is keen also!

Thank you to those who contributed to our post and we look forward to seeing you all next year!

Happy Climbing!!