Huffpost New York

Thomas Dold Wins Empire State Building Run-Up For Record Sixth Straight Year

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NEW YORK — Thomas Dold of Germany won the Empire State Building Run-Up for a record sixth straight year on Tuesday, hustling up 86 flights of stairs in 10 minutes, 10 seconds.

Alice McNamara of Australia, a rower competing in the race up the Manhattan landmark for the first time, was the women's winner in 13 minutes, 3 seconds.

Wearing knee-high black socks and yellow sneakers, the 26-year-old Dold scaled the 1,576 steps from the lobby to the outdoor observation deck of New York's tallest building and beat last year's winning time by six seconds. It was his third-fastest finish in the race, behind a 10:07 in 2009 and 10:08 in 2008.

"To have more wins than every person else is unbelievable," said Dold, of Stuttgart, who crossed the finish line high above the city amid a cloudy mist.

Two other men have won the race five times since it began in 1978, American Al Waquie from 1983-87 and Australian Paul Crake from 1999-2003. Crake remains the world record holder with a time of 9 minutes, 33 seconds, but has not competed since suffering a devastating bicycle accident in 2006.

"He always was an idol to me," Dold said. "He's really such a good guy and a great runner. I always think of him because he had such a bad accident and I'm sorry for him."

Dold said it's too early to say whether he'll be back to defend his title in 2012.

"The weather was not so good," he said. "Maybe I'll have to come back to take better photographs next year."

The 24-year-old McNamara, a member of the Australian national rowing team, said Tuesday's race was her second competitive stair climb. She also won her first, at Melbourne's Eureka Tower. The prize was her first trip to New York.

"It's fantastic," McNamara said. "Even if it's covered in snow and sleet it's the greatest city in the world."

McNamara said she was missing her first week of medical school in Melbourne to compete in the run-up.

"I think it's worth it," she said.

The 2010 women's champion, Melissa Moon of New Zealand, did not compete.

Organizers said 150 men and 60 women completed the race.

Omar Bekkali, 32, of Liege, Belgium, was second among the men with a time of 11:25, more than a minute off Dold's pace and four seconds faster than 30-year-old Christian Riedl, of Erlangen, Germany.

Finishing second among the women was 35-year-old Cristina Bonacina of Pontida, Italy, at 13:54, nine seconds ahead of 42-year-old Cindy Harris, of Indianapolis, Ind.

The vertical race is run by the New York Road Runners, which also organizes the New York City Marathon.

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Online:

NY Road Runners Club: http://www.nyrr.org