Vertical marathon lovers challenge city's skyscraper

The 2018 International Tower Running Grand Prix attracted over 600 runners on Sunday at the 270-meter-high Wheelock Plaza in Jing'an District, the highest building in Puxi area.
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Runners compete at the 2018 International Tower Running Grand Prix in Shanghai on Sunday.

The 2018 International Tower Running Grand Prix attracted more than 600 runners on Sunday at the 270-meter-high Wheelock Plaza in Jing’an District, the highest building in the city's Puxi area.

The vertical marathon lovers including students, retried workers and foreigners working in Shanghai, challenged the 58-floor high rise.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Runners climb up the 270-meter-high Wheelock Plaza in Jing’an District on Sunday.

Ou Jiajing, a professional marathon runner from Guangdong Province, won the champion of men's group with a time of 7 minutes and 3 seconds. He is one of the top vertical runners in China and he was ranked as the world 12th last year.

Zhang Huiji, 51, won the women’s champion crown, clocking 8 minutes 43 seconds.

Zhang, from southwest China’s Chongqing, said she started to run in 2003 and now running has been part of her life. Every morning, she takes a run of at least 10 kilometers before going to work.

Though not a professional runner, she has won several champions in local marathon contests. In 2004, she started to participate in vertical running, and in her first competition held in the Oriental Pearl Tower, she won the champion.

A variety of activities were held in the square of the Wheelock Plaza and every female runner received a gift as Sunday marked the Mother’s Day.

Vertical running, or climbing up the stairs of high rise, was first held in the Empire State Building in New York in 1978. Later, it gained popularity around the world and now nearly 300 skyscrapers have been registered as qualified venues for the competition. But it is still a new concept in China which was introduced about five years ago.

Also on Sunday, a charity marathon was held along the east side of the Huangpu River. The 8.8-kilometer-route starts from the greenery beneath the Yangpu Bridge and ends at the Modern Art Museum Shanghai. 


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