Q1 Stair Challenge Race Report

The first race of the year was always going to be big. Australia's tallest building (though not the tallest race), four months since we were last able to race in this country, and excitedly a new race format with the addition of a teams Everest category all made for plenty of excitement.

Everest Challenge

The night before the race the Everest teams met with event organizers to go over the format, meet with team mates and as a nice touch enjoy a Q&A with SCA's own Alice McNamara and Mark Bourne. Afterwards a meet up at a local restaurant was attended by more people than we could have imagined. But as usual for the night before a race it was an early finish as everyone heading back to their accommodation for a bad night of sleep.

Sunday morning came too soon and it was the start of a hot day. The Everest teams were due to start at 6:50am.  SCA team members looked great in their new team gear, so good that it brought a tear to Maria's eye.

The Everest challenge consisted of teams of 10 climbing to the full vertical height of Mt Everest with each person completing 4 climbs each.

With three teams in the Everest race one runner from each team set off together every 15 seconds. SCA started with our star runner Mark Bourne who did a warm up run in 8:16, which ended up being the 6th fastest time of the day! It looked like Mark was up for a good day.

The team camaraderie was very strong and made for a very different race for all involved.  Team members waited for others to finish and started climbs together. Normally the focus in stair racing is on your own efforts. By being part if a team and doing multiple climbs together we really united as a tribe.

After the first climb team members took different approaches to completing their four climbs. Nic had to catch an early flight and powered through his quota very quickly. His first climb was impressive coming in just under 10 mins which placed him 23rd overall.

Karen and Tracy raced each other up each climb as they were evenly matched in times. Karen pipped Tracy in the overall and both finished in the top 10 overall. Great results from both.

Ed and Brian couldn't stop at just four climbs and kept on going to both complete an amazing 7 climbs each.

At the final presentation SCA was awarded with the overall win in a time of 8 hours 35 mins 40 seconds. It was a great team effort that was justifiably celebrated with lunch at the cafe on the 77th floor of Q1 looking out on the beautiful Gold Coast.

As the first Everest attempt at Q1 our time is now the benchmark for future years and future SCA teams to challenge. Can't wait for 2020, maybe SCA will be able to enter two teams to go head to head?

The Sydney Tower race in August will also have an Everest Challenge and SCA will be definitely entering a team. Don’t think twice about joining us, it’s a great day of stair climbing.

Elite Race

The overall winners this year were probably already know before the start. With record holders Mark Bourne and Alice McNamara leading the men's and women's races and no one in the field ever posting times anywhere near these two champions the question was more around how much they would win by and who would ‘win’ second place.

Mark led off the men's race with last years winner Jason Williams from SCA going off second. Behind them included up and coming 17 year old Blade Rose, a national level track runner, and father and son Steve and Jackson Bentley, fighting it out for family honours.

SCA’s Maria Piemontese, currently recovering back from a broken foot (but still managing to complete two ascents!), waited in the stairs and got some great footage of the elite racers coming up the stairs. Filming at the 55th floor it is incredible to see Mark Bourne still trotting up the stairs looking so relaxed and light. Behind him everyone else is in varying states of health, all battling their bodies to keep going. The video is on SCAs Facebook page and worth watching.

Mark finished in a time of 6:48, surprising even himself to finish only 7 seconds off his record time.

After Mark and a sizable gap Blade Rose and Jason Williams come into shot. Blade started 15 seconds after Jason and passed him around the 20th floor. Just after passing Maria's vantage point Jason passed Blade and pulled away. The battle was on to see if Jason could gain back the 15 seconds. In the end Blade managed to hold on finishing in 8:07 with Jason just behind in 8:09, taking out 2nd and 3rd in the overall.

SCA had 10 men in the event and filled four of the top 13 places. Ed Manktelow greatly improved in only his second race to finish 10th.  Steve Bentley impressed by beating his son Jackson, reversing last year’s head-to-head race, and finished 13th overall.

In the women's race Alice McNamara dominated as expected finishing in a time of 8:56. As in the men's race the battle for second was close with last year’s 4th place finisher, Rachel Arnold, finishing in 9:57 taking a huge 39 seconds off her time from last year.  Rachel finished just ahead of SCA's Liz Elton in 10:05.

SCA had 9 women in the event and incredibly, took four of the top ten places with Karen Withers in 6th and Tracy Dowie in 9th.

With 19 competitors from SCA in the event we were really well represented. Our new team uniform stood out in the crowd and drew a lot of interest. Congrats to everyone who took part. Whether you were racing your first time at Q1 or back to attempt a PB, the team spirit was high and results outstanding.

Overall results


1. Alice McNamara* 8:56
2. Rachel Arnold 9:57
3. Liz Elton 10:05
4. Rose Crook 10:25
5. Jenny Enderby 11:08
6. Amber Thompson 11:10
7. Karen Withers* 11:10
8. Joanne Remington 11:21
9. Tracey Dowie* 11:32
10. Tenessa Corke 11:42
63. Alison Hill* 14:12
180. Marina Whittle* 17:33
256. Maria Piemontese 20:29
289. Liz Goodwin 22:19
377. Vanessa Beddie 51:05


1. Mark Bourne* 6:48
2. Blade Rose 8:07
3. Jason Williams* 8:09
4. Damien Enderby 8:33
5. Darryl Taylor 8:47
6. Lythgoe Luke 8:55
7. Ash Gardner 8:56
8. Joshua Clark 8:59
9. Scott Pearson 9:07
10. Edward Manktelow* 9:16
13. Steve Bentley 9:19
23. Nic Accaria* 9:57
27. Grayson O'Connor 10:14
119.  Rod Unsworth 14:32
127. Trevor Ryan 14:56
202. Brian Wilson*19:11
244. Scott Beveridge 24:26

bold : SCA Member
* : SCA Everest Team (fastest ascent only listed)

Most of the SCA in the elevator on the easy way down.

Most of the SCA in the elevator on the easy way down.

Vanessa Beddie always finishes with great style!

Vanessa Beddie always finishes with great style!

Maria did two ascents with a broken foot. At the finish with Ed.

Maria did two ascents with a broken foot. At the finish with Ed.

The winning SCA team.

The winning SCA team.