Australia's Suzy Walsham became the first woman to win five Empire State Building Run-Up races when she broke the tape on the iconic building's observation deck Wednesday night, some 86 floors above the New York streets below -- talk about a stair master! (Not even going to apologize for that one.)
Norway's Thorbjørn Ludvigsen won the men's competition, climbing the 1,576 steps in 10:06. Walsham's finishing time was 11:57, making her the first woman to break the 12-minute mark since 2006 (it should be noted, though, that the course was shorter in 2014 -- the stair-climb finished at the indoor observation deck as opposed to the roof, due to inclement weather). That didn't dampen Walsham's spirits though:
"I'm so excited," said Walsham, 40, who is a citizen of Australia and a permanent resident of Singapore, where she has lived for seven and a half years. "That was a goal of mine coming here. No other female has won it more than four times so I wanted to be the first and I am really proud of that record."
Austria's Darren Wilson was the second male finisher, followed by Slovakia's Tomas Celko. The top American was Tim Donahue, who came in fifth place. Ludvigsen managed to pass Wilson somewhere around the 71st floor.
American Erika Aklufi was the second female finisher, but was a full 50 seconds behind Walsham.
Wednesday's Run-Up featured 183 runners who were raising funds for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) and 59 members of Team for Kids (TFK) who ran in support of NYRR youth programs.