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Record-breaking 2,100 Stair Racers Conquer 73 Storeys & 1,336 Steps At The Swissôtel Vertical Marathon

11-24-2011 02:30 AM CET | Sports

Press release from: Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts

Champions of the Swissotel Vertical Marathon Women's Open and Men's Open - Suzanne Walsham & Matthias Jahn

Champions of the Swissotel Vertical Marathon Women's Open and Men's Open - Suzanne Walsham & Matthias Jahn

Over 2,100 stair racers climbed Asia’s most gruelling and pioneer vertical race – The Swissôtel Vertical Marathon today, with German firefighter - Matthias Jahn winning the Men’s Open category in an outstanding 7 minutes and 16 seconds and Singapore permanent resident and 3-time Empire State Building Run Up champion Suzanne Walsham from Sydney, Australia clinching the Women’s Open crown in 8 minutes and 23 seconds.

Soaring to a height of 226 metres, the Swissôtel Vertical Marathon is the 7th leg out of 8 vertical races in the Vertical World Circuit which kick started in New York in February 2011, followed by Basel, London, Milan, Taipei, Berlin, Singapore and San Paolo on 3 December 2011. The Vertical World Circuit® unites some of the world’s most iconic skyscraper races in eight capitals across four continents. Since 2010, vertical running, or skyscraper racing, is governed by the International Skyrunning Federation.

Competing in his first Swissôtel Vertical Marathon, Matthias from Munich, Germany is the reigning 2010 Stair Run Champion in the World Firefighters Games held in Daegu, Korea and the representative from MesseTurm Vertical Race in Frankfurt, Germany. Meanwhile, Suzanne Walsham remains as the undisputed queen of Swissôtel Vertical Marathon by winning her 6th Women’s Open category title in a blistering fashion. “Suzy” sky-rocketed her way to the finish line 20 seconds faster than her nearest rival, world-class, Italian stair runner - Valentina Belotti. Last year’s overall women’s Vertical World Circuit champion, New Zealand’s Melissa Moon came in 3rd at just over 9 minutes.

Both Matthias Jahn and Suzanne (Suzy) Washam will not only represent Singapore and Swissôtel Vertical Marathon in the prestigious Empire State Building Run Up in New York in February 2012, but will also be sent to compete at the Nestlé Corrida Vertical Race in San Paolo, Brazil (3 December), the last leg of the World Vertical Circuit.

An impressive pool of top international stair runners climbed Singapore’s towering hotel earlier today including Pavel Holec from the Czech Republic; Pedro Pinto Ribeiro (Portugal) Bekkali Omar who came in 3rd in the Men’s Open and Manzi Emanuele from Italy who claimed the runner up spot in the Men’s Open in 7 minutes and 19 seconds, just 3 seconds behind this year’s Men’s Open Champion Matthias Jahn.

“Staging the Swissôtel Vertical Marathon for almost a quarter of a century now is our way of contributing positively to the community and remaining steadfast in our efforts to champion worthy causes and inspire a culture of sports excellence in Singapore and around the world,” says Mr Aiden McAuley, Managing Director, Swissôtel The Stamford & Fairmont Singapore.

As a tribute and testament to indomitable human spirit, determination and tenacity to overcome challenges, international stair runner Dwayne Fernandes and local beacons of hope Alvina Neo and Adam Kamis also participated in the 24th year run of the Swissôtel Vertical Marathon to inspire people and exemplify what courage is all about. The oldest participant, the remarkable 85-year old Mr Tan Soo Cheng completed his awe-inspiring 11th Swissôtel Vertical Marathon this afternoon in just under 30 minutes.

Indian born Australian Dwayne Fernandes is a double leg amputee who has partaken in numerous tower climbs around the world including New York’s famed Empire State Building in 2009 and 2010, the Sydney Tower Run Up, as well as last year’s Swissôtel Vertical Marathon. "The Swissôtel Vertical Marathon is definitely one of the hardest stair-races I have participated in but I enjoyed the experience from beginning to end," he said. "This was a wonderful experience that allowed me to continue to encourage people to participate in life. Life is too short and we must make the most of everything whenever we can.” When the 26-year old is not running up buildings you can find him at his workplace in Blacktown, Australia as a Senior Insolvency Accountant.

Twenty-two year old Singaporean Alvina Neo was born with Spina Bifida, a congenital condition that involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord or its coverings. As a result of Alvina grew up using braces and a crutch to walk. “My purpose for competing in the Swissôtel Vertical Marathon is to raise awareness for disability sports, as well as to make what is deemed impossible, possible. My goal was to challenge myself, gain the confidence, complete the marathon and reach the top, which I did. I believe that anyone can be a shining beacon of light for all to follow. All it takes is courage, determination and perseverance in all that you do.” She added. Alvina graduated earlier this year with a Diploma in Biomedical Science from Temasek Polytechnic and currently works as Research Assistant under NUS/NUH, Department of Paediatrics.

The inspirational local athlete and avid runner Adam Kamis made his 3rd trip and 4th trip to the helipad today by climbing the towering hotel twice this afternoon. In 2008, he became the first person with disability to compete in the Swissôtel Vertical Marathon where he achieved an amazing 76th spot out of 297 participants in his age category. His amazing performance showed that although the accident has taken away most of his arms, it did little to diminish his athletics skills and willpower. Adam is also a proud silver medallist in the 800m category of the 5th ASEAN Para Games in 2009. Locally known as the “1armrunner”, the courageous Adam was involved in a tragic motorcycle accident 7 years ago where he lost his right arm and left his other arm paralysed. The former SAF guardsmen officer and marine engineer now regularly competes in various races locally and internationally and works as a freelance graphic designer when he is not competing.
The 2011 Swissôtel Vertical Marathon featured the following categories: Men’s/Women’s under 20; Men’s/Women’s 20 – 29; Men’s/Women’s 30 – 39; Men’s/Women’s 40 – 49; Men’s/Women’s above 50; Men’s/Women’s Open; Nation Fighters; Lover’s Challenge and the Corporate Challenge. Various category winners walked away with fantastic prizes including hotel night stays, sports watches amongst others. All stair runners who successfully completed the race to the top received a finisher medal and will be given a personalised certificate as well.

In line with Swissôtel The Stamford’s mission of giving back to the community, this year’s Vertical Marathon raised $40,000 for The Spastic Children’s Association of Singapore (SCAS). Established in 1957, SCAS provides special education, rehabilitation services, vocational training and gainful employment for children and adults with cerebral palsy in Singapore.

 The world’s fastest stair-racer and 2010 Overall Champion (Vertical World Circuit), German Thomas Dold, sprinted to a first place finish last year with a time of 6 minutes and 51 seconds. He recorded the three fastest timings in Swissôtel Vertical Marathon history in three consecutive years (2008, 2009 and 2010) and his record of 6 minutes and 46 seconds set in 2009 still stands.
 Singaporean Balvinder Singh held the record for two decades (since 1989) until Thomas Dold shattered it by an amazing 6 seconds in 2008.
 From its humble beginnings in 1987 with only 180 participants, the country’s premier vertical race garnered its highest recorded number of participants this year with 2,100 registered stair runners.

Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts ( is an award winning and distinctive group of deluxe hotels, combining renowned Swiss hospitality with contemporary design, personalised service, charm and efficiency. Located in popular gateway destinations and city centres, the hotels provide convenient access to business and shopping districts. The group’s Swiss heritage ensures organisational competence, attention to detail, safety and a superlative guest experience.

For more information, please contact:

Susie Lim-Kannan
Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts
Director Media Relations, Asia Pacific
Tel: +65 6431 1236

Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts
250 North Bridge Road #10-00
Raffles City Tower
Singapore 179101

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