Race Recap: Banyan Tree Vertical Marathon

Last weekend I ran my 2nd tower running event- 61 floors of running up stairs! A bit of a chaotic trip getting to my hotel in Bangkok which ended up being a very late night but I finally made it and was able to get some sleep before waking up early for the race. Probably the worst place I’ve ever stayed (and I’ve stayed at a LOT of places throughout the world)…but they tried to make up for the bad room by offering me some free bananas and saying it will be alright, just go to sleep (in Thai).

The rest of the weekend went smoothly. Had fun meeting lots of new runners from Bangkok and other parts of Asia. After a good warm-up I was ready to go! I was in the first wave of 10 runners and off to a good start. Got passed early on the stairs for about 20 seconds until the guy tired out and slowed way down (been there…done that, learned that lesson the hard way…don’t start a stair race too fast!). The rest of the race was a mental game as it was me versus the clock. I finished well and collapsed on a nice blue mat as race staff shook my legs asking if I was okay while I tried to catch my breath. My time was slower than I was aiming for but I really had no idea of what to expect.

I was in first place for a short bit until a super fast and experienced tower runner in another wave beat my time. So I ended up 2nd overall.

Stair running is quite a unique sport. It’s the most excruciating pain you can put yourself in, and while it doesn’t last very long and the race is over quickly, it feels like forever during the race. So, it’s more of a sport you enjoy thinking about before, after, and even during the first minute or so, then it’s all PAIN! It’s a good challenge though, and there’s something about the extreme pain and fatigue that attracts certain people to see how just how much mental toughness we have and how much pain we can endure. It’s a sport that anyone can do, has fewer injuries than any other sport, yet terrifies most people to even think about doing it.

So, I encourage everyone to give it a try!  Even if you have to take your time getting to the finish, you’ll learn some things about yourself and about others on your way to the top. And the views at the top of these races are amazing!

Tower races also have a very unique community that is quite incredible. The two races I’ve competed in were on complete opposite sides of the world, but both had a great atmosphere, good camaraderie, and lots of friendly people. Everyone’s very encouraging and supportive of everyone else and it’s an accomplishment just to push your limits and finish at the top! And its something all ages can compete in and do well at!

It’s quite addicting too as you think post-race about how you did and what you could have done better. After each tower race I found myself wanting to try it again within an hour of finishing to beat my time, but of course I have to wait until next year…which is probably a good thing. It’s fun to think about doing it and planning it, but when you’re in the middle of it and feel like you’re lungs are going to explode and your legs are going to fall off and you suddenly just want to quit you begin to wonder why in the world you are doing this anyways.

Doing a training run on some local stairs immediately refreshes my memory of the pain though and temporarily postpones that craving for another race.

If you’re interested in trying a tower race and live in the states check out http://towerrunningusa.com. If you live elsewhere in the world check out http://towerrunning.com

Thanks helping me climb to the top!

Amanda Elliott
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