Willis Tower 2013

The 2013 SkyRise climb featured 2311 climbers racing each other up 2115 steps ( 1353 feet, 413 meters ) to the top of the Willis Tower. It also raised over one million dollars for RIC–the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.  The event boasted a large elite field of runners from three continents, with climbers travelling from as far away as Germany, Australia, Denmark, and Mexico as well as from dozens of US states.


Winning a very close men’s race was Justin Stewart, with a time of 13:29.  This was Justin’s second climb of Willis Tower, and his first victory.  Justin’s main training has been endurance work in an attempt to break the 12 hour vertical ascent record, and many were curious to see how this training would translate.


Second was Görge Heimann, with a time of 13:32.  His chances of winning may have been dashed when he dropped and had to retrieve his glasses mid-race!  The rest of the elite German contingent performed well, with Rafael Klosok finishing in 16:13, and Ralf Hascher in 16:27.


Rounding out the top three was Tim Donahue with a time of 13:49.  Tim is an elite cross-country skier, as well as the training partner of the Willis Tower record holder, Sproule Love.  Sproule was unable to attend the race, as his wife gave birth to a girl, Yasmine Ahmad Love, the same day as the race!



Other top male finishers were:


4th: Three-time winner Jesse Berg, with 13:52

5th: Sprint specialist Alex Workman, with 14:53

6th: David Tromp, with 15:20

7th: Local Springfield Phenom John Osborn with 15:25.


The women’s winner was Melbourne’s Alice McNamara, with a time of 15:02, narrowly missing the course record of 14:57 shared by Kristin Frey and Cindy Harris.  A member of Australia’s national rowing team, Alice has won the Empire State Building climb, certainly one of the world’s most competitive stair race events.


Second place was Indianapolis’s Cindy Harris with a time of 15:54.  Cindy has also won the Empire State Building climb four times, and has many wins at Willis Tower to her credit.


Third, with a time of 16:45, was fitness instructor and successful triathlete Stephanie Hucko, a native Australian who currently resides in North Carolina.


Rounding out the top women were:


4th: Sherri Breese, 16:54, a highly successful runner from the Chicago area

5th: Mexico’s Sandra Nunez  with 17:27

6th, 7th: Locals Evelyn Wisniewski and Annie Weiss,with 18:21 and 18:27 respectively.


Many participants climbed despite physical handicaps, ascending the steps with crutches and braces, which was an inspiring sight for many elite climbers making practice climbs after their own races.  Additionally, there was an alternative to the stairs where people unable to climb at all could expend as much energy on a hand cycle, winning heats against other racers and competing for overall top times.