ALMERE, NETHERLANDS - Some hundred runners have worked up a sweat during the third edition of the WTC Almere Trappenloop. The race started in front of the building, where supporters and visitors could enjoy the competition, and led through the parking garage before entering the stairwell. All competitors had to run the stairs from level -4 to the 29th floor, a 600–stair course with an amazing view at the top. The 120 meter high WTC Almere is the tallest building in the region and the tallest World Trade Center in the Netherlands.
Winners of the elite division were Christian Riedl from Germany (3:35.8) and Cristina Bonacina from Italy (5:26.4). Riedl fought a thrilling battle with Bartosz Swiatkowski (POL), who was just 0.8 seconds behind the German favorite. Spain's David Robles Tapia achieved the first top 3 result in his career in a Premium or Grand Prix Race. Omar Bekkali (BEL), the defending Almere champion, lost his initial two-second lead over Robles-Tapia in the final section of the course and became fourth. The fifth place went to Görge Heimann (GER, 3:55.1). Bonacina won the women's race with a clear 20-seconds margin over local competitors Jolanda de Vries (5:46.8) and Monica Bosch (5:56.3).
The athletes were challenged by Almere's stairwell geometry. “I do stair races almost every weekend but here I had some difficulties with the low and short steps. I like the Tower running sport and competing against other athletes. Every building is different, so it's never boring,” says Klosok representing Tower running Germany e. V. The athletes not only enjoyed the tough race, but also the inspiring atmosphere and the beautiful weather.
Thirteen professional athletes from Europe were invited by the Tower Running World Association to join the WTC Almere Trappenloop. Many amateur runners climbed the stairs in several categories including a school run for children of 16 years and up.
Helen Parkhurst turned out to have the fastest runners among the school teams. The two strongest Dutch competitors Jeroen Vochteloo and Gerko Floor were invited to represent the Netherlands in the 2014 Tower Running European Championships.
In 2012 the WTC Almere Trappenloop was organized for the first time to promote the opening of the World Trade Center Almere building and to warm up for the local city run. In 2013 the first professional athlete, Omar Bekkali, joined the WTC Almere Trappenloop and the amateur runners were amazed at how fast he conquered the stairs. Inspired by the previous successful events the organizers and TWA brought the 2014 edition on the global stair-racing map as the inaugural Tower Running World Cup Premium Race in the Benelux.
With just three more weeks to go for the Tower Running European Championship, the Premium series will continue in Linz with the "Sturm auf den Keine Sorgen Turm" on June 7.
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