Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Brian Kuritzky ran the 1,576 steps up New York’s tallest building in the time it usually takes him to grab lunch at the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cafeteria.
Kuritzky, a 25-year-old security analyst, raised $100,000 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation by completing the 1,050-foot stair climb at the 35th Annual Empire State Building Run-Up in 12 minutes, 52 seconds last night.
“In these 12 minutes I ran up 86 flights of stairs,” Kuritzky said in an interview from the Empire State Building’s observation deck. “That’s a bit more productive.”
The event, which began with 15 competitors in 1977, featured runners from 20 to 78 years of age from 25 countries including Australia, Japan, Mexico and Turkey. The race expects to raise more than $475,000 for MMRF.
Thomas Dold of Germany won the men’s invitational, his record seventh consecutive title, with a time of 10:28. Melissa Moon of New Zealand (12:39) triumphed in the women’s division.
Kuritzky’s friends, family and co-workers pledged $10,000 for each of the 10 runners he beat in the men’s invitational heat. He finished 14th, raising $100,000.
“There was an unbelievable amount of support for me once they heard it was a charitable event,” Kuritzky said. “It’s very humbling.”
Kuritzky, whose mother died of breast cancer when he was 15, has run the New York City marathon and a 140.6-mile (226 kilometer) iron-distance triathlon to raise funds for cancer research.
The event was invitation only before last year, when MMRF first became the benefiting charity. This year featured a wave of about 100 charity runners, each of whom raised a minimum of $2,500 for MMRF.
As snow fell outside, runners spread the workload between their arms and legs by pulling themselves up along the handrail. Moon, who won the event in 2010, said the snowy nighttime finish was a “dream come true.”
“It’s so special to be able to finish the race at the Empire State Building at night,” the 42-year-old New Zealander said in an interview. “It all unfolded just the way I visualized it.”
Dold also holds a world record in the 10-kilometer backward run, according to his website. He said this was one of the toughest races he’s had at the Empire State Building.
“The biggest thing for me is not to look at the others,” Dold, 27, said. “I’m not able to go 100 percent the whole time, so pacing myself is the strategy.”
A 10-team corporate division race was won by Joe Walsh, Greg Maurer-Hollaender and Russell Kempf of CBRE Group Inc., the world’s biggest commercial real-estate services firm, with a combined time of 46:01.
The course record of 9:33 was set by Paul Crake in 2003, according to the New York Road Runners, which also organizes the New York City Marathon. The woman’s record of 11:23 was set in 2006.
Chrissie Wellington, a four-time Ironman World Champion, finished third in the women’s race at 13:15. The 34-year-old from the U.K. said she didn’t decide to run until noon yesterday, while she was in town promoting a memoir about her athletic career.
‘Mind Over Matter’
Wellington, who wants to enter more stair climb events, said the Run-Up was more painful than a triathlon.
“Whether you’re doing a triathlon or you’re doing this, it’s all mind over matter,” she said. “Your body hurts and you want to give up, and it’s just having the mental strength to resist those urges.”
Kuritzky said he had to push himself to continue after reaching the halfway point.
“I hit the 43rd floor and thought, ‘Okay I made it halfway,’ and my body said, ‘Well that’s about all I can do,’” he said. “You have this vision of it being a lot easier and when you’re running it’s so much more challenging.”
A former Cornell University soccer player, Kuritzky said he trained mostly by running and playing sports. He said it was hard to train on stairs because there’s no structure even close to tall enough to simulate the challenge of the Empire State Building.
He was at work yesterday and said he’d be up at 6 a.m. to return to work on time this morning.
“The legs won’t be happy with me, but I will sleep very well tonight,” he said.
-- Editors: Dex McLuskey, Rob Gloster
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