International competitors take the stairs
HA NOI (VNS) — Belgium's Omar Bekkali finished first in the inaugural men's Landmark 72 Vertical Run yesterday, a climbing race to the top of Viet Nam's tallest building.
He covered the 1,914 stairs to the top of the 72-storey tower in an impressive time of 10:06min.
"I am very happy because it's the first time I have won a race. I have got every position, No 2, No 3, No 4, No 5, but never first before," Bekkali told Viet Nam News at the finish.
"I found it very hard at around the 40th and 50th floors and kept saying to myself ‘You have to keep moving'."
Last year, he was fourth at the Bitexco Vertical Run in HCM City because of an injury.
Fabio Ruga of Italy and and Clement Dumont of France came in second and third with times of 10:10 and 10:53, respectively.
In the women's event, the current female leader of the Vertical World Circuit – Suzy Walsham of Australia – secured her first world title in a time of 11:21.
"Getting to the top of the high building first makes me so happy. Before I came here, I didn't look at the number of floors. I just looked at the information of the building and it said 72. At that time, I thought it took me around eight minutes because in Singapore, I did it 8min 20sec with the same height," the three-time winner of New York City's prestigious Empire State Building Run-up said.
The second and third place went to Cristina Bonacina of Italy with 13:26 and Loan Thi Dung of Viet Nam with 14:19.
The winners each received US$1,500 and gained crucial points to be declared the world champion at the end of the year.
All donations raised through the Landmark 72 Hanoi Vertical Run will go towards EMW's INSPIRE Sports, a programme that empowers people with disabilities in Viet Nam by encouraging participation in sports and recreational activities. — VNS