Willis tower 2014

The 2014 Willis tower climb was a sellout, with more than 2,600 climbers flooding the lobby on race day.  With dozens of elite athletes jockeying for starting position, competition was fierce for the podium spots.

50 elite climbers gathered for dinner the night before to carbo-load and unwind for the race, one of the largest elite gatherings outside of the event itself.  Several birthdays were noted and celebrated, and a good time was had by all. Making use of the precious extra hour of sleep afforded by daylight savings time, the same athletes began to filter into the willis tower lobby soon after 6am to prepare for the event ahead.  Before long, it was 7am, and the elite of the elite were set up the stairs one by one to do battle with the massive skyscraper.

Despite turning his attention more to trail and obstacle races, Justin Stewart defended his title, his time of 13:37–8 seconds slower than last year, yet still comfortably winning.  Eric Leninger, a last second addition turned in a strong second with 14:03.  Alex Workman improved on his time from the previous year, finishing in 14:45, placing third.  Rounding out the top ten were Zachary Kessell with  14:48, Germany’s Ralf Hascher with 14:49, John Osborn with 14:58, Jason Larson with 15:15, Joshua Duncan with 15:21, Thomas Scott with 16:08, and Larry McSweeny with 16:08.



Winner Justin stewart( photo right ), with 7th overall Jason Larson ( center ) and 43rd overall David Hanley( left ).


On the women’s side, Chicago’s Sheri Breese scored her first victory at Willis, posting an impressive time of 17:06.  Cindy Harris, winner of the Willis race many times, despite having a very off year, finished a very close second with 17:12.  Liz Ruvalcaba, in her first stair race, finished third with a time of 17:29.  57 year old Lucy Vasquez was fourth, with a time of 17:36, and Rebecca Maier was fifth with a time of 18:27.  Rounding out the top ten women were Korie Kellogg, with 18:38, Whitney Meredith with 18:40, Tessa Dorresteijn with 18:48, Chelsea Hunter with 19:18, and Catherine Demet with 19:46.


First place woman Sherri Breese with her husband, Steve.

First place woman Sherri Breese with her husband, Steve.


Continuing his utter domination of his age bracket, Robert Liking, 12, posted an eye-popping time of 16:51, for 17th place overall.

With this year’s prohibition against multiple climbs being strictly enforced, climbers quickly proceeded to breakfast and brunch, enjoying a clear and sunny Chicago day before the weather turned truly arctic, celebrating another successful Willis Tower climb!