The Empire State Building has announced that elite tower runner Suzy Walsham of Singapore will return to the World’s Most Famous Building on Wednesday for the Empire State Building Run-Up Presented by Turkish Airlines Powered by the Challenged Athletes Foundation, to defend her title as the most decorated athlete in this race’s history.
Walsham earned her fifth-straight and record-breaking eighth overall victory in the 2017 Empire State Building Run-Up women’s invitational heat with a time of 12 minutes, 11 seconds. The 41st annual race will pit Walsham against U.S.-based rivals Cindy Harris – currently the No. 2-ranked female tower runner in the world behind Walsham – Meg Santana and Stephanie Hucko.
Among the leading contenders in the men’s invitational heat are Frank Nicolas Carreño of Columbia –ranked 2nd in the world, Alex Workman – the top-ranked male tower runner in the United States and Sproule Love – the 14th ranked tower runner in the United States.
“As the world’s first and most recognized tower race, the Empire State Building provides competitors a unique challenge,” said Walsham. “To compete against the world’s best athletes at this iconic location is an honor and privilege each year, and I look forward to defending my title again in 2018.”
Turkish Airlines, Turkey’s national flag carrier and the airline that flies to more countries and international destinations than any other airline, is the presenting sponsor of the 2018 Run-Up. And as part of the prize package, the top three male and female winners of this year’s race will each be awarded a business class flight voucher to the Turkish Airlines destination of their choice. Turkish Airlines’ New York office is located in the Empire State Building, with its global headquarters based in Istanbul.
“Taking pride in its wide flight network that spans over 300 passenger and freight destinations in 120 countries, Turkish Airlines is glad to be the presenting sponsor of this exciting event that brings together communities from all around the world through running, while also raising important awareness for the Challenged Athletes Foundation,” says Cenk Öcal, Turkish Airlines’ General Manager, New York. “Turkish Airlines continues to fulfill its commitment to global sports events and organizations that reflect its dynamism and competitive spirit in every aspect.”
Returning as the official charity of the Run-Up is the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). As a world leader in helping people with physical challenges get access to sports and an active lifestyle, CAF believes that participation in physical activity at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.
“I’m thrilled to attempt the Empire State Building Run-Up this year for the first time,” shared Rudy Garcia-Tolson, Paralympian and CAF Team Member. “I am proud to represent CAF on a team with four other Challenged Athletes, plus 25 fundraisers all committed to CAF’s mission. As a double above-knee amputee, stairs have always been very tough for me, so this race is a big challenge that I’m looking forward to conquering.”
In addition to Turkish Airlines and CAF race heats, participants in the race include the men’s and women’s invitational, media, celebrities, New York City real estate brokers, lottery participants and, for the second year, members of the New York City Police Department and the Fire Department of New York.
The Empire State Building’s world-famous tower lights will shine in Turkish Airlines’ colors, red and white, on the evening of the race in celebration of the event.