Thomas Dold and Melissa Moon, world champion tower runners, expect to be challenged when they participate in the Bitexco Vertical Run.
HCM CITY —
The race will take place tomorrow at the Bitexco Financial Tower in HCM City, considered one of the world's 20 most iconic skyscrapers.
Dold and Moon talked with local journalists on how they became tower runners and the challenges that a tower runner faces in comparison with other athletes.
Thomas Dold: I was 16 when I started running. When I competed in the world mountain championships, I realised that I can run faster than others. I looked for new challenges to know how steep I can run, like running up staircases.
Melissa Moon: I have run for 20 years so far. I have done marathons, cross-country races, road running, mountain running and so on. Last year, I wanted a new challenge and started with the race at the Empire State Building in New York, then the London Tower, then (similar races in) Switzerland, Chinese Taipei and now Viet Nam.
Thomas Dold: It is always very steep to climb up a building, (the angle is) more than 45 per cent normally. You have no flat part, no chance to rehabilitate, because every 20m, you have to change the staircase. You have to be very careful that you are not over-pacing yourself at the beginning. It may be the same as marathon - if you are over-paced you lose the time at the end.
One thing is strategy and the other thing is the length of step you take. When you run flat, you can have one or two meters or everything between that distance but when you run on a staircase, you can only take one, two or three steps, you cannot take one and half or two and half. You also have to make 100 degree turnarounds.
I had a very difficult race in Chinese Taipei. I had over 300m to climb and the steps were really high. It seemed impossible to run there.
Melissa Moon: It is completely different. The steep of a marathon is not great and the body can adjust to it, but running up a building, the intensity is so great, so quickly. You have to use your mind to keep your body going because it gets very uncomfortable very quickly.
Running on the Taipei 101 is the hardest because it is so long.
Thomas Dold: I will focus on myself and try to run as fast as possible but the runner-up in New York is also here and there is also one guy from Italy I know well. There are hundreds of tourists who are willing to win.
Melissa Moon: Yes, the Italian girl, Valentino, is very tough. She has run many races this year. It will not be easy for me but I enjoy the challenge whether I come first, second or third, I will give all I have to get to the top. — VNS