2014 Big Climb Race Results

Columbia TowerBrutal is the word for this building. No one is really quite sure why this building is so good at chewing up tower runners and spitting them out at around floor 50, but seein-as-how the finish line is at 73, that makes for one tough final push to say the least.

Maybe it’s the kind of cement they use for the stairs, maybe it’s the funky deep step on each 2nd landing, maybe it’s the way the railing sticks out a little too far on every 2nd landing, maybe it’s the fact that the flights alternate between 10 and 9 steps? Who knows, but the comments from the best tower runners always come back underlined with shock and awe about how much harder it was than expected.

After all, it’s only 69 floors, right? And those are short floors to boot, with only 19 steps instead of 20. It actually runs pretty close to a 69 floor climb as far as time goes, but hurts like a MOTHER starting in the 40’s and then presents it’s own “wall” somewhere in the 50’s, which is sooner and definitely more intense than other climbs of this length. It runs like the Strat in Vegas as far as time goes, but as far as pain management and fatigue level goes, it’s a whole ‘notha motha!

Despite all this, it still draws the largest crowd of any climb in the world with 4,000 races and 2,000 non-timed climbers. Of the 4,000 racers who start however, only about 3,300 finish. The others bug out somewhere along the way because like I said, it chews people up and spits them out.

3,300 finishers however, makes it a very competitive race. There are lots of people who are in pretty amazing shape in Seattle (which is consistently ranked every year among the top 10 fittest cities in the nation), and they like to show up for challenges like this. There are also about 300 teams formed each year (with the fastest three racers’ times combined for the team time), so the competition is arguably stiffer in that category than any other climb as well. This makes it all the more satisfying to win.

Well, as far as fastest individual runners go, the X Gym wins every time. The X Gym team also wins every year – and by such a huge margin it looks like they cheated. This year for example, the X Gym won with their fastest 3 climbers, but if their second fastest three had counted instead, they still would have won by a huge margin. Oh, and their 3rd fastest three would have won too. By a huge margin.

In fact, the margin between the X Gym and the 2nd place team was over 5 minutes. The average margin between the 2nd place team and all the others in the top ten was only 17 seconds. How’s that for a fun fact?

Here is the link to team results: http://www.llswa.org/site/DocServer/Results_teams.pdf?docID=3921

Other results (age groups, etc.) can be found on www.bigclimb.org.

Comments

  1. Great write up PJ. I really hit a wall around the 35th floor and couldn’t believe I wasn’t on at least the 50th at that point….and I train in Utah at elevation! Your detailing the possible reasons as to why makes me feel better about the struggles my body had in this race.

    You do a great job with the Xgym. Your team rocks!

  2. G.M. Grena says:

    Thanks to the survey you & Stan did of the staircase height (819 feet instead of 788) & floor count (73 instead of 69), it’s fairly obvious why it’s been more difficult than expected by most climbers. Great job! And congratulations on your epic team times!

  3. Nice post PJ. Adding this climb to my list. (Fully knowing I’ll get chewed up BAD). My list, BTW, is getting loooong!

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