Copy of SPO 191023 SkyRun AKK-3-1572001108570
A record 500 runners participated in the race on Friday, which covered 1,334 steps at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

DUBAI Piotr Lobodzinski of Poland conquered 52 floors of the iconic Jumeirah Emirates Towers in six minutes and 55 seconds, an improvement of 14 seconds from his time (seven minutes and nine seconds) in the last edition while Suzanne Walsham recorded eight minutes and three seconds, an improvement of 13 seconds from her last score (eight minutes and 16 seconds) to complete the 16th edition of Dubai Holding SkyRun 2019 on Friday.

The SkyRun, which took place today at Jumeirah Emirates Towers, was organised by Dubai Sports Council (DSC), International SkyRunning Federation, Vertical World Circuit, Jumeirah Group and Talise Fitness.

Giovanni Potenza of Italy, 75, completed the race three times consecutively, setting a new record in the race’s history. Giovanni completed his first lap in 12 minutes and 19 seconds, his second lap in 13 minutes and 32 seconds and his last lap in 13 minutes and 10 seconds, averaging 13 minutes overall. Female Hiroko Shinzato of Japan, also 75, completed the race in 17 minutes and 13 seconds.

The 2019 race edition was joined by 27 corporates teams from key companies as well as governmental and semi-governmental organisations including the Prime Minister Office of Dubai (PMO), Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) DU and RAK BANK.

Amit Kaushal, group CDEO at Dubai Holding, said: “We are proud to witness the most successful edition of this long standing race in terms of results achieved by the runners, the number of participants; male, female, locally and internationally, the results put Dubai on the global map of such races. On behalf of everyone at Dubai Holding, I would like to congratulate all the participants for an exceptional show of sportsmanship and enthusiasm at this morning’s race. I would also like to congratulate the winners on their remarkable performance, which inspires us all to push our limits, reach new heights and achieve greater success. I would like to thank our sponsors and partners who believed in this race and contributed generously to its success.”

Marino Giacometti, president, International Skyrunning Federation, said: “I’m very pleased that the Dubai Holding Skyrun was won again by the two world champions who, with this victory, will confidently go on to the finals. The Vertical World Circuit athletes did us proud taking most of the top slots. It was great to see so many different countries participating - more than 50 – together with a strong local participation. We’d like to thank Dubai Holding for the excellent organisation and look forward to having the race on the 2020 Vertical World Circuit calendar, the only stop-over in the Middle East - half way between our Asian and European events.”

The awards were given away by Dubai Sports Council’s director of sports Khalid Al Awar who congratulated the winners. Marcus Sutton, MD of Jumeirah Emirates Towers, oversaw the raffle draw.

5th highest skyscraper race

A record 500 runners kicked off the only official vertical race and one of the very first races during Dubai Fitness Challenge, the campaign marking the city’s most anticipated month of fitness. Covering 1,334 steps of Jumeirah Emirates Towers, the 2019 edition of Dubai Holding SkyRun ranks as the world’s 5th highest skyscraper race and the only official vertical race in the Middle East. As part of the Vertical World Circuit, Dubai Holding SkyRun puts Dubai on the map, sharing the stage with the prestigious vertical runs in some of the world’s most popular cities such as New York, London, Paris, Milan, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Osaka and Hong Kong.

What the winners have to say:

Piotr Lobodzinski, three-time Dubai Holding SkyRun champion, said: “I’m really happy to win today’s race with a new record time. My goal was to run below seven minutes, and I did it, breaking my course record. I controlled the race, but I also had to push hard and was exhausted on the finish line. It’s great to be back in Dubai and at the Dubai Holding SkyRun for the third time. It’s a very well-organised race, and I hope to be back again next year.”

Suzanne Walsham, two-time Dubai Holding SkyRun winner, said: “I found the last 20 floors really tough, but I had a bit of lead by that stage, so it was more about maintaining my rhythm, staying strong, focused and climbing as fast as I could to the top. This is a fantastic event, and in Dubai, there is a big sporting culture so it’s a great place for this well-organised race, and I know the Elite Vertical Runners are very happy to be back here.”