My recent race in the Aon Center in Los Angeles was my sixth stair race of 2015. I haven’t mentioned any other races, but it turns out… I’ve been keeping a few secrets. I’ve actually signed up for three more stair races. One of them is the inaugural race at an iconic skyscraper that opened last fall to international fanfare, after years of anticipation.
Need another hint? It’s one of the buildings in this photo:
YEP! On Sunday, May 17th, I’m going to race up the stairs of ONE WORLD TRADE CENTER in New York City!
It’s the tallest building in the western hemisphere and the fourth-tallest in the world. It’s confusing how tall the building actually is, and I haven’t quite sorted it out. There are 94 stories above ground, then a tall spire, but the top three floors are an observation deck, and those are labeled floors 100, 101 and 102. Meanwhile, race literature says the finish line is on the 90th floor (which might be labeled the 100th floor?). It’s a mystery at this point, but I suspect they may be fudging the numbers, so they can promote the observation deck as being 100 floors up.
The specifics aren’t important, though. Just know it’s the first race up a landmark building that’s already brimming with historical and cultural significance. And it’s a fundraiser – so I need to bring in some bucks in order to compete.
Your eyes might glaze over when you read “fundraiser,” and I don’t blame you, given how frequently I ask for charity donations. All I ask is that you read the following info (no skimming!), because this cause makes me tear up, and I think you too may be similarly touched.
The race benefits the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which was founded by the family of a firefighter who died trying to save lives on September 11, 2001. In 2001, Stephen Siller was a 34-year-old husband and father of five. He had just finished his shift in Brooklyn when he heard about the first plane that hit the World Trade Center. He dropped everything and headed towards Manhattan. The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel was already closed off to vehicular traffic, so he carried 60 pounds of gear and ran the remaining three miles. He didn’t make it home.
The foundation that bears his name supports a variety of programs, including ones that provide assistance for firefighters, veterans, and their families. One of their largest programs is called Building for America’s Bravest, and they build specially designed houses for service members who are returning home after losing all four limbs in combat. This video tour of a retired Marine sergeant’s new home showcases the great work that the Stephan Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation does, while reminding me to never take my independence or freedom for granted.
Help me race at One World Trade Center by CLICKING HERE and donating to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Every donation, big or small, can make a difference and help our nation’s heroes. I’m competing as part of the West Coast Labels/X Gym team, and my teammates have already raised over $4,600. Can you help bump that number a little higher?
One World Trade Center is mighty exciting, but it’s not the only race coming up. The other two don’t have fundraising components, so there won’t be any more soliciting.
The weekend before I race in New York, I’ll be racing in Dallas, Texas, at another inaugural event at a landmark structure. On May 9th, I’ll be competing in the Heroes Memorial Climb at Reunion Tower. This is a multi-climb race, folks, and it’ll be a tough one. The Reunion Tower, which looks like a giant dandelion that’s ready to be blown into the wind, is 57 stories tall, and the race is up the stairs TWICE. That’s 114 total stories, which makes it the 4th-longest stair race (by floor count) I’ve ever done (after my multi-climb races in San Diego, Seattle and Portland).
I’m super excited about this race, because my high school friend Mike, who lives in Dallas, is racing, and he’s roped in a couple of his friends. So we’ll have a nice little group. Even though I don’t need to do fundraising, my registration fee is going to a great cause, Heroes in Action, a Dallas-based non-profit organization that supports the professional development and safety of police officers, firefighters and veterans.
Finally, my last race of the spring season is a little race in Oxnard, California, about an hour away, along the coast between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. The Tower 2 Tower race on June 6th is in the two tallest buildings in Oxnard. First, up the 14-story City National Bank Building. Then down the stairs to the ground, in another stairwell. Then a run across the parking lot to the 22-story Morgan Stanley Building, and up those stairs to the roof.
With a total ascent of 36 stories, this race may pale compared to the other ones I’ve discussed, but it too will be a milestone race for me. It’ll be the first race I’ve done that includes a going down stairs component. Racing down stairs is actually difficult, tough on your body, and dangerous – especially after racing up 14 stories. My legs wobble like pudding after a fast ascent, and to turn around and use them in the opposite capacity… well, I’ll have to do some specific training before June! My registration fee supports the Oxnard Fire Explorers, a training program for teens and young adults that are interested in a career in fire fighting.
So that’s what’s coming up, folks. After these races are over, I have a 3.5 month break from stair racing, and I’ll need it. I will have done nine stair races in the first half of 2015!
Keep it up, David!