We Set a World Record Together Yesterday

The highest vertical building run ever: 552 vertical meters up Earth’s second tallest building–Shanghai Tower.

Shanghai, China. 上海 中国🇨🇳

Always intrigued by Empire during 12 years in NYC, but never tried to get in. And very difficult to get into.

But I am a Professional Adventurer now. And it is my duty to run such events, then report back to society at large.

; Could I just start a bit smaller?


I had never run a vertical run or race before. I have not done stair workouts. I feared my legs would be trashed by this climb.

And the Shanghai Marathon was only 14 days before.

Strike while the iron’s hot.

The opportunity arose.

Take it.

There is a sub-culture of insane people worldwide who thrive in these environments.

They analyze every detail and prepare accordingly.

Emily, Francesca, Tom & I met here yesterday morning. It was approximately 0820, Sunday, November 26th, 2017.

Looking up, the Tower reached into outer space.

My vegan pre-race dinner had me fueled up: tofu-vegetable salad & the best fried rice ever, with pumpkin seeds on the side.

Beet juice flowed through my veins.

A pre-race medical check shoots our blood pressure up. Was this a sign of calamities to come?

Francesca gets her blood pressure checked.

I’m getting my pulse reading, after a temperature check via left ear.

We join explorers in a lobby area, glistening floors near heavily trafficed bathrooms.

About 30 minutes out, espressos all around. Regrettably, Emily cannot join us due to a back injury.

Wow. We’re going to start by shooting right into the lobby. We’re in Lot #3. Each runner in each lot gets her/his own staggered start, about 10 seconds between runners.

Shooting in, then right, at about 10:25 a.m., I traverse the black floored main lobby, past cheering race officials and security guards.

Following clearly marked signs on the floor and walls–“race course, track”–I go right again, through a doorway,then hit the first step.

I believe it was Lao Tzu who said: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Slow & steady was the plan.

I began passing others almost immediately. Folks who probably went out too hard.

Borrowing elite stair runners’ strategy, I used handrail on left to help pull myself up.

Pull. Step.Pull.Step. Pull.Step.Pull.Step.

Repeat-repeat-repeat-repeat. Ad infinitum.

Passing more and more runners, I had to cut right, not able to grab the rail.

Expending more energy, but my legs stayed strong.

Cut left, grab rail. Pull up.

Cut right, pass competitor, cut left, grab rail.

Stairwell seemed tight for such a massive building. Clean, newish, but monotone.

Dry, stale air burned my throat.

Pull. Step.Pull.Step.

Not wanting to look at floor number, anxious it would disturb my mind, I pushed ahead.

Medical table to side.

Water station several minutes later.

Race officials every few flights, cheering for us. Monitoring the stumbling, watching those reduced to walking.

“Jāiyóu!” Competitors encouraged one another.

Together in suffering.

Legs burning, yet not faltering.

We hit a few short landings, brief reprieves around corners before heading straight up again.

I grabbed a sip of water.

A few more flights. Looking up: 70th Fl.

Whewww! Glad it’s that far.

I feel like I’ve made good progress.

Charging forward.

Cut right, all my own power, pass, cut left, grab rail, pull. Step. Pull. Step.



Stumble on that one, but steady now.

“I look beyond the empty Cross, forgetting what my life has cost.”

Slow & steady.

Can’t be too much further.

Stale air burning.

Small blasts of air,from somewhere, keep us alive.

My engine propels me.

My legs hold!

But slowly, slowly.


I think he’s saying he’s vegetarian, too.

I wear my Vegan Runner singlet proudly.

Charging up. Conserve. Go! Conserve.


100 floors!

19 to go.

No one can pass me now. No one does.

A man comes up fast behind, hand on my lower back, he gives me a nice push up a couple steps.

He’s right there, but I keep on, forward.

Hearing the buzzing of B Chips as finishers cross the final line, I know it’s close.

Push up. Push. Go!

Ready to finish, but with fuel in the tank…

I see the tape ahead, breaking through!

Stopping short of the huge plate glass windows overlooking the city below us.

The world beneath us.

Hugging two male race officials, exuberantly I am done.

I’ve just run as high as allowed up higher than any vertical building race in history.

552 meters.

3,398 steps.

Took me 26:10. 36th place.

Glory to G-d!

This is how my Garmin read it.

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