As a first in Qatar, eager city residents raced to the top of the 51st floor of the Torch Doha Hotel in an attempt to claim the coveted title of fastest participant in the inaugural Torch Staircase Run yesterday.
Exhausted, but triumphant, contestants displayed an extremely high level of fitness that was required to complete the challenge. The winner of the men’s race was Aaron Hollingsworth with a time of 7.49 while Sarah Whittington was the quickest in the women’s category by one second with a time of 10.33.
Enthusiastic about participating in the first-ever staircase run, contestants are eager to see this become a regular event.
“Every year several staircase runs are held around the world with the competitors running up the stairs of some of the tallest structures and towers in the world. This first-of-its-kind event challenges the people of all abilities and is in line with Aspire Zone Foundation’s mandate to reach out to the community and make a healthy difference,” said Hamad Buhindi, Communications Manager, Aspire Zone Foundation.
Buhindi said Aspire hosts several mass participation, as well as spectator events, all year long. This weekend alone, the FIG Artistic Gymnastics Challenge Cup, Aquathon, Staircase Run and Earth Hour celebrations take place all at Aspire Zone.
The Torch Doha Staircase Run is the first in the region, following in the footsteps of many other important buildings around the world including the Empire State Building in New York and the Berlin Sky Run in Germany. The event proved hugely successful from the start with all places quickly snapped up within 36 hours.
Men’s winner Aaron Hollingsworth, who works as a school counselor at the American School Doha said: “This event exceeded my expectations. It was well organised and a really enjoyable race. I started out the first few floors well but by the time I got the 30th it was pretty hard. I have done a lot of flat road races but this was very different.”
Women’s winner Sarah Whittington from the United Kingdom said: “I set off in a really fast pace and it got tough by the end. I have done some half marathons before but nothing like this. It is such an iconic building and I was really excited to be involved. When I saw it was being organised by Aspire I knew it would be a good event and well organised.”
Other contestants in the field included two members of the Qatar Search and Rescue Team-ISF Lekhwiya who completed the climb in full uniform.
The Staircase Run reflects Aspire Zone’s on-going desire to promote health and discourage inactive lifestyles, thereby building healthy communities and eventually healthier nations.
The Torch Staircase Run was organised in partnership between Aspire Logistics, The Torch Doha Hotel and Aspetar.
Final results of the Men’s Category showed Aaron Hollingsworth, clocked at 07.49, Adam Tuck at 8.03 and Jiri Vystejn, 8.08.
At the Women’s Categoty, Sarah Whittington had 10.33; Raimey Olthuis, 10.34 and Elizabeth Sparks, 10.49.
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