Defying gravity, the vertical ascent up a city tower has literally taken the world by storm. Originating in the late 70s, the sport of ‘Vertical Marathons’ (also called ‘Tower Running’) has now spread to every continent, with the Abu Dhabi debut confirmed for January 2017.
Under the initiative of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and hosted at the Etihad Towers, The Climb to Abu Dhabi will see the world's best professionals and amateurs climb up 82 floors / 1,617 steps in a time trial format competing for a prize pool of USD 25,000. The inaugural event to be held on Friday, January 27, 2017 will also see another first in the vertical world with family, school and community categories competing in a 32-floor / 720-step challenge in the adjacent Tower 3.
Speaking at the launch, H.E Aref Hamad Al Awani, Secretary General of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, commented “Abu Dhabi’s growing list of international events welcomes the inclusion of the city's first professional vertical marathon. Stair climbing is one of the best forms of exercise and the easiest way to work fitness into our busy lives. We encourage everyone to join the stair climbing movement.”
Someone all too familiar with the power of stair climbing is Pole, Piotr Lobodzinski. Crowned world champion in 2013, 2015 and current 2016 World Series leader, Piotr was unveiled as the event's Brand Ambassador. Speaking on his experience and delight, Piotr commented “Stair climbing can have a powerful and positive impact on your health over time. Whether you are as serious about it as I am or someone who wouldn’t dream of ever taking the stairs unless it was an emergency, all it takes is the power of one step.” As part of Piotr’s brand ambassador role, the Polish world champion in association with Activelife by Daman will lead free community training programs as well as release an official training guide.
Hamad Al Mehyas, Daman’s Chief Process Officer, confirmed that the initiative is in line with Daman’s commitment to facilitating positive change in the community and contributing to the health and well-being of the nation. Al Mehyas said: “Daman is dedicated to providing all members of the community with the opportunities and the tools that they need to adopt fit and healthy lifestyles. Stair climbing is an excellent introduction to fitness, particularly for those who have little or no experience of exercising. The Climb To Abu Dhabi is a highly entertaining event aimed at engaging the entire community whilst also providing a thorough workout. We are delighted to add the initiative to its portfolio of world-class fitness events.”
Richard Foulds, Head of Property Management at Etihad Towers and home to the Climb to Abu Dhabi, stated “on behalf of His highness Sheikh Suroor Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, we are pleased to be able to host the 2017 “Climb to Abu Dhabi” at Etihad Towers in conjunction with Abu Dhabi’s Sports Council, Sport360, Daman and of course our hotel partners Jumeirah Group.
The launch of the event happily coincides with the 5th anniversary of the opening of Etihad Towers, which remains the largest mixed use development in Abu Dhabi. Tower 2, where the elite category of the vertical marathon will take place, is one of the three residential towers, measuring 310m in height; and remains one of the tallest residential towers in Abu Dhabi. Etihad Towers continues to offer a unique 5-star plus experience across all our platforms, hotel, offices, residential and retail with Avenue at Etihad Towers.
We would like to thank the support of all the participants of the 2017 Climb to Abu Dhabi vertical marathon and we wish them all the best”.
The Climb to Abu Dhabi will have a total of 6 professional and fun race categories in both Tower 2 and Tower 3 at the iconic Etihad Towers. An Abu Dhabi Sports Council initiative hosted at the Etihad Towers, the event is further supported by Activelife by Daman, National Ambulance and Al Gusto while the organizer of the event is Sport360.
An exhibition race in 2017 under the sanctioning of the World Tower Running Association, the Climb to Abu Dhabi is also the first destination city for the newly formed Climb to Vertical Series, which will see cities around the Middle East & North Africa form part of the a MENA vertical series to launch in 2018. President of World Tower Running Association, Daniel Cecetka adds “We are very excited the Climb to Abu Dhabi is set to join the calendar and we look forward to the future of the sport in the Middle East.”
Further details including categories, training programs and registrations are available at www.climbtoabudhabi.com. Limited registrations are available and open from 17th November until early January 2017 unless sold out earlier.
Picture of official announcement team – Left to right
- Stefan Fuchs, General Manager of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers
- Richard Foulds, Head of Property Management at Etihad Towers
- Piotr Lobodzinski, Vertical Running World Champion & Brand Ambassador of Climb to Abu Dhabi
- H.E Aref Hamad Al Awani, Secretary General of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council
- Dr Sven Rohte, Chief Operating Officer of Daman National Health Insurance Company
- Didier Brun, Publisher & Deputy CEO of Sport360
- Hamad Al Mehyas, Chief Process Officer of Daman National Health Insurance Company