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Posted: February 10, 2007

Athletics: Dold Defends Title At Run-Up

From David Monti

© 2006 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

NOTE: Posting of this story was delayed because of travel --Ed.

Thomas Dold of Germany successfully defended his title at the 30th annual Empire State Building Run-Up held in New York City on Tuesday, February 6, while Suzy Walsham of Australia won her first title. The event was founded and organized by the New York Road Runners.

Dold yelled and swiped at the tape as he crossed the finish line after climbing the 1576 steps to the 86th floor observation deck in 10 minutes and 25 seconds, well off of Australian Paul Crake's event record of of 9:33 set in 2003. When he emerged from the stairwell to trot the short distance around the outdoor deck to the finish line, he was blasted with extremely frigid air. New York City is still in the midst of a cold snap.

"The start was the hardest ever this year," said Dold, referring to the mad scramble across the Empire State Building lobby to the stairwell door where the climb begins. Though he began the climb in approximately 10th place, Dold steadily passed other athletes-including those in the women's race, which had started five minutes before the men's-before before coming through the door to the 86th floor. "That's a great feeling-there's nothing else like it," said Dold.

Walsham, a former miler who was sixth at the Commonwealth Games in the 1500m last March, got her second victory in a stair climb. She had won the Swissotel Vertical Marathon in Singapore, where she now resides, last November, and the first place prize was a trip to New York for the Run-Up. She won in New York in 13:12, a slow time when compared to Austrian Andrea Mayr's event record of 11:23 set last year.

"Last week I practiced three times at my condo, which has 12 floors-I went up and down three times," said Walsham of her preparations. "Other than that, my fitness is just what I've carried over from running. I was very surprised to do as well as I did."

Four-time champion Cindy Moll-Harris of Indianapolis, whose last victory came in 2003, finished second in 13:24. "You never know who is going to show up," she said of Walsham. It's an international sport and lots of people come to it from other sports where they've competed at a high level. It's not a sport you can make a living doing, so we all just have fun chasing each other."

The New York Road Runners also announced that they had made a $10,000 donation to the Australian Cycling Federation's Support Paul Crake Appeal. Crake, 29, who won the Run-Up five times before becoming a professional cyclist, was severely injured in a cycling accident during the Tour of Southland in New Zealand on November 11, 2006, fracturing vertebrae in his back and neck.

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