I love to see new events pop up that are within my driving distance that I can add in. I love them even more when it is an event that is for a cause that I have a huge passion and drive for! I heard a few months back that there might be this new climb coming to Philadelphia and that it was a “BIG CLIMB” that is a fundraiser from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I knew that their organizers had spoken to ours our in Seattle at the LLS and was pretty amped up to hear about it!
Over the last 10 years competing in the Scott Firefighter Stair Climb I have strived to push and promote the cause of the LLS due to what I have seen and know the organization does. Now I have the ability to be a part of another great LLS climb and ADD an event to my list.
While I was out in Philadelphia I had the opportunity to check out the building and see what I was going to be up against. 43 floors, 1,092 steps, 664 feet up the Comcast Center building!
This is not a firefighter climb or a gear climb where we can participate in gear or with any type of packs or equipment, but a regular stair climb. HOWEVER…That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get involved. It should be “easier”, right? 🙂 43 floors is a great test of the cardio endurance and for such a great cause. Get signed up and get training, it won’t take long for a new climb to fill up, as there are only 1500 spots available.
What a great weekend it was in Philadelphia for the Step up Philly Climb that benefitted the Special Olympics organization. A super cause where the event helps pay for the costs of training and competition for the athletes and their families! I arrived a little later than I wanted to on Saturday night, but I added about 150 miles to the trip with an Ohio stop in the morning. Rain…rain…rain, the trip started out wet and gray, but the fall scenery through Ohio and Pennsylvania was still gorgeous.
A great night of rest and I arrived at the BNY Melon building with plenty of time to spare on Sunday morning to compete. The organizers of the event were gracious enough to allow me to compete twice in their event. I started my first climb in running attire in the stairwell used by the multi-climbers. I was a little nervous but pretty pumped about hitting this 53-floor climb event twice. I had a small issue with the pace and falling into the right rhythm, but that only lasted a few floors. I know that my distraction left some seconds on the course for sure and I hope to get those next year. I finished the civilian climb with a 9:46 and a 13th place overall.
I got about a 40-minute break before my second climb which drew a little attention. This year unfortunately there weren’t any other firefighters climbing in gear. Maybe it was the different weekend they set the event for, I don’t know. Geared up with the 42.5 pounds of equipment, I had the opportunity to talk with a few of the Special Olympics athletes that had questions for me about the gear, and some I recognized from the 2014 climb. As we lined up I got to talk with some of the students from Temple University that were out competing and volunteering at the climb and offer up some tips and hear why they were there.
When the timer told me to go I pulled my gloves on, hit my watch, and railed my way up the first flight in perfect rhythm. What I was off by in the first climb of the morning I sorted out and nailed a solid pace on this climb in fire gear. I grabbed water twice and kept going, I may have slowed, but never stopped. I met and encouraged or was encouraged by other climbers and volunteers, that really helps push a person along! Crossing the finish with a 15:18 I may not have medaled, but I walked away with my head held high and a 1:20 PR on this building. HUGE gains for me in Philly this year and I found a pace that is going to help my other climbs.
Its hard to believe that this climb has came and gone, and for me officially starts off the climb season. From now through May I will be in climb mode and working toward many goals.
Seriously this is a great and GROWING climb that makes a difference in lives. It is well ran, a great building, decent rehab area, and great people making things happen. Great water stops, plenty of water and snacks post race, and space to stretch out. If you are in PA or a state close by, definitely check this event out and add it to your list.