UpSlide Down: June Edition

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Nishad Manerikar, Total Motion Towerrunners; 5th June2018

In my social circle this conversation happens quite regularly:                                                        

Friend1: How was your weekend? Did you run up some building?                                                   
Me: Haha, yes/no, but there’s a race next weekend/no, I just had a race last weekend.                      
Friend1’s friend: You f***ing what mate?                                                                                        
Friend1: He runs up stairs for fun                                                                                                  

And then I explain the whole thing, and then I’m asked if I also have to run down the stairs at the end. I have to disappoint them and tell them that we take the boring route down – via the lift. Except for when it’s UpSlideDown - that’s when we get to slide down! All of the 178 screaming metre length of the world’s longest tunnel slide!

UpSlideDown started last year in London with three races, in June, July and September. It is a stair race up the ArcelorMittal Orbit (height: 114.5m) – that weird twisty tower/sculpture you might have seen on your visit to London’s Olympic Park in Stratford. It is a continuous spiral staircase with 455 steps and no landings to speak of. It starts with a short run up a spiral ramp, which leads you to the stairs, and near the very end the stairs turn the opposite way to lead you onto the final twenty or so steps. The event, organised by The Race Organiser, gained popularity amongst towerrunners last year. When it was announced that they would have the three races again this year, we all promptly registered. It is a great addition to the London towerrunning scene – a true sprint.

The course records were set last year by Ockert van den Berg (2:14) and Total Motion Towerrunners’ Sarah Frost (2:57).

The June 2018 edition happened on the 5th. There was a strong TMT presence at the race this year. Will Obeney set the early pace, racing to the top in 2:33 improving on his 2017 time of 2:46. Sarah followed soon after, and we weren’t surprised to see that she’d beaten her record by a big margin – she clocked 2:37. The rest of the TMT crew came in, and then the wait began for David Harris and Sonja Shakespeare who were in the next wave. David did an outstanding job, clocking 2:25 to beat his PB from last year by 9 seconds, and grabbing first place from Will in the process. Sonja came in at 2:57, bagging second place in the women’s and it was also a PB for her, by 5 seconds. With Chiara Cristoni in third pace at 3:10, we had an all-TMT women’s podium! Well done to the women. It is also worth mentioning that Sarah finished third overall. The men’s podium had a TMT top two (David and Will); third place went to Dharmesh Patel in 2:41.

There was just the small matter of hurtling down the slide afterwards. Yes, this was fun. Bring on the July and August races!

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