Australians win race to top of Empire State Building

New York, Feb 8 (IANS/EFE) Australia's Mark Bourne won the race to the top of the Empire State Building, an event that drew more than 730 runners who vied to be the first up the 1,576 steps inside New York's most famous skyscraper, while countrywoman Suzy Walsham took the women's crown.

The 29-year-old Bourne, who specializes in endurance races, ran up 86 floors in 10 minutes 12 seconds Wednesday night, breaking the record set by Germany's Thomas Dold, the winner of the seven previous editions of the race but a no-show this year due to illness.

Darren Wilson, another Australian, took second place in the men's division in the Empire State Building Run-Up Powered by the MMRF.

The 39-year-old Walsham won the race for the fourth time, posting a time of 12 minutes and five seconds and tying American Cindy Harris for the most number of victories in the event.

"It's a great day for Australia!" Walsham said.

The New York Road Runners Club started the popular race up the 102-story Empire State Building, which is located at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street in Manhattan, in 1978.

The race starts in the skyscraper's lobby and ends 86 floors above at the first observatory.

Racers run up a narrow, windowless staircase, jockeying for position since only two people can squeeze in at a time.

The 36th edition of the race drew runners from 18 countries, including Spain and Mexico, organizers said.

--IANS/EFE

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