Scaling New Height

December 26, 2010 at 1:35 am | Posted in itchy backside | 2 Comments
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The day finally came. Itchyfingers only managed to find time to do four practice climbs in preparation for the Swissotel Vertical Marathon. Each time we made a little progress – from 15.35 min on the first climb to 14.34 min for the last training; with a lapse of about two minutes to wait and take the lift down for a second round of climb on the 40 storey flat.

During registration, I found that the starting times for the men and women categories were quite far apart..and you would only be given 10 minutes on the helipad to take photos and rest. So, if Itchyfingers were to enter into our own categories, then chances of us meeting up at the helipad would be quite slim. In the end, I persuaded Tisu Boy to join the category for couples – the Lovebirds’ Challenge. The name is quite mushy for our liking actually….hahahah…but that would be the only way we could take photos together lor…hahah….

Collected our goodie bags a week prior to race day. The bag design and colour
was nice…the tee and the content not too bad also, with Shape magazine for
girls and Men’s Health magazine for guys. Haha…got chicken essence also!
Notice the pair of bears? Got one each in our bags, not sure if other categories
also have one too. Of course, both girl and boy bears ended
up in my bag…wahahah… 😀

Our reporting time was late at 11.30 am. But we decided to reach earlier to take photos and soak into the atmosphere…There were already so many people, some had already finished while others were waiting for their time as each time only six participants were flagged off to avoid overcrowding on the stairways.

Long queue forming at the reporting time for each categories

A tv screen was set up next to the starting line for live telecast –  the top
left was the first entry point to the stairway; the top right was recorded at
the 42th floor and the bottom two showed the finishing point. Many were
dead tired at the 42th floor….we gotta remind ourselves not to show any
sign of fatigue in front of the camera…hahahah….

We decided to take a ‘before race’ shot…after which I asked the guy who
helped us take this picture how was the race…he said gotta pace ourselves
and not go too fast at the beginning…

Our shoes…

Wow! Chocolates in the prize hampers! I want.. :p

Hahah…more chicken essence in the hampers…

Great to have free flow of drinking water as the weather was so hot!

I’m gonna climb all the way up! So exciting and scary! 😀

In the meantime, results for those categories that started earlier were out.
My goodness! 8.31 minutes for the first guy in the under 20s category!

We went back to take some photos of those at the starting line…

On flagged off, we gotta run about 50 metres or so around the building…

Before running into the shopping area and turning around a corner into a door.
Couldn’t see beyond that…I guess that would be where the climbing starts?

Last year’s Men’s Open champion, Mr Thomas Dold from Germany gave
some tips to fellow participants. His time was 6.46 minutes! Amazing!
He has also won several other vertical marathons. Good news for the Men’s
Open – they wouldn’t be competing against him
this year! :p

Next to start – the Women’s Open. The lady in black is Ms Suzanne Walsham,
winner for last year’s race with a time of 8.29 min! Despite having just given
birth few months’ ago, she won again this year with a time of 9.13 min! The
last lady is Ms Jeanette Wang, editor of Shape magazine. She was the winner
in 2003

Then it was the highlight of the day – the Ultimate Championship. The men started first…

The horn sounded and there they ran! Mr Thomas Dold was on the left, while
a double amputee, Mr Fernandes Dwayne from Australia was on the left

When these elite ladies runners were racing, a lot of people gathered at the tv screen to see their progress. But when these gentlemen started their race, there were even more people gathering around to catch the action. Everyone wanted to see if Mr Dold could defend his title and at what time he could finish. So intense! Hahaha….And yes! He didn’t disappoint everyone! He raced up to the helipad in 6:51 minutes! My goodness! It must have taken lotsa training to achieve such timing!

We missed the Women’s Ultimate Championship cos our category would be starting after that. As it was close to noon and the sun was getting burning hot, we didn’t want to waste time queueing for our turn. So we made a quick last toilet visit and got back in time to be among the first few groups in the queue…

Lovebirds forming the queue. There were a total of 133 pairs!

And that’s Itchyfingers getting to the starting point!

Among us were this newly engaged couple in full wedding attire all ready
to bring their love to the highest point! They aimed to finish within 25 – 30minutes
with her trying to complete the race in her heels as much as possible… :p

They were given the priority to start the race..with them were their
entourage of bridesmen and bridesmaids…

The organisers from Swissotel gave the couple a little more time before flagging off the first groups of three couples. Itchyfingers were in the third group. By now I was feeling a bit nervous…cos seriously we had been training on lesser numbers of steps though the number of floors were more….and we always had a break in between taking the lift to the ground floor and climbing up again…This time we had to climb all the way without stopping…I mean you could always stop anywhere to take a rest, but we were aiming for a timing not too far from our training time, which would be around 14 minutes…Can we do it?

Soon it was our turn. We were given 30 seconds to get ready…soon it was 10, 9, 8, 7,6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…borrrr (horn)!!!!!

Wow! I nearly started before the horn sounded! Hahah…nervous mah! 😀

Like what we saw earlier, we had to run pass some cafes and then enter
the shopping arcade before taking a turn into
this doorway…I had thought
earlier that was the start of the climb…

But nope, we had to run through some corridor first to to get there…It was

now I remembered reading online about this stretch

And then finally we saw the stairs! Strange, I found myself suddenly
losing pace right from the start… 😦

I was totally out of form! Even though we had wanted to take it slow at the beginning, I found myself starting to pant really hard even before level 10 or earlier although we managed to catch up with the couples from our group and one or two other couples… 😦

What happened to you Tisu Girl! Totally cannot make it!

This time round, it was Tisu Boy who was in better shape! All the while he was in front of me unlike during our training!

I forgot at which floor did we catch up with the couple and their entourage
happily taking photos…managed to congratulate them despite feeling so

I dared not even look at my watch when we reached halfway…cos at the rate I was going, it definitely would not look so good…my calves felt so heavy, my heart was racing as if they were going to pop out from my mouth…Tisu Boy was obviously feeling great, climbing seemingly effortlessly and kept encouraging me to keep going…The volunteers were great too…When we reached the 42nd level, it was really hard to squeeze out a smile to face the video recorder! My goodness! Another 20 more storeys to go! Gotta push on! It was really a case of mind over body!

Pant pant pant….

It was a bit disappointing when Tisu Boy told me when he checked his watch that we had exceeded our 14 minutes target. Nevertheless, we still had to push on! Come on Tisu Girl! We could already hear the cheerings from the helipad!

Taking a few second break at the 72nd storey for a so-tired-but-so-happy

And then yes! We reached the 73rd storey! Wow, and that was not the end, cos still a few more steps to get to the helipad! 😮

But we made it!!!!! It was a welcoming sight seeing the helipad, the staff and volunteers. We were given a bottle of icy water and our medal as reward for our hard work…hahahah!

Medals for all!

Wow the medals had diecut!

Tisu Girl feeling so happy at the helipad and forgotten how tired I just felt
at the stairs…It was great to see the view of the city after climbing 1,336 steps!


After the hard work of climbing, obviously we had to take more photos!

Some of the Ultimate Championship runners were still hanging around, probably they had interviews with the media…We saw Mr Champion and this time, I was not gonna miss the chance like the Great Eastern Run. So I went up and asked for a photo together! :p

Tisu Girl with the fastest climber, Mr Thomas Dold!

I saw the double amputee Mr Fernandes Dwayne and nodded to him before taking photo with Mr Dold. When we finished, we couldn’t find Mr Dwayne around so missed getting a photo with him…

The Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort…

Singapore Flyer and the nearby hotels…

The Singapore River precinct


More hdbs…

The newly webbed couple made it in 32.09 minutes! Not sure if the lady

climbed all the way in heels though…hahah. For the Lovebirds’ Challenge,
we had to finish together and cross the finishing line hand in hand… :p
That was why Tisu Boy cannot go ahead without me! Hahahahah!

The couple that were married for the longest – 25 years! They made it up
in 23.46 minutes! Not bad for their age!

A last photo before heading down. I think we stayed more than 20 minutes
maybe cos we were the last race category other than the Corporate category
so it was less crowded

Haha…after climbing so many stairs, we still had to climb down two
more floors to get to the lift…hahah…

Earlier on at the starting point we saw Mr Kunalan, who set the national record at the 1968 Mexico Olympics and at the 5th South East Asian Peninsula (SEAP) Games the year after. He broke the Asian Games 200m record with a time of 21.3s. In 1981, he clocked 48.8s for the 400m at the age of 39. Didn’t have a chance to ask him for a photo but when we were at the lift lobby, we saw him again…But before I could open my mouth, the lift was here…So…

Tisu Girl asked Mr Kunalan, or Mr. K, for a photo in the lift itself! Hahaha!!!!!

Back at the starting point area, results for the Lovebird’s Challenge were
out! The winning team made it in 11.34 minutes! The no. 8 team finished
in 14.40 minutes!

Wow! If only I was in my usual form, Itchyfingers could have made it to the top eight list! We took more than 16 minutes to the top…far slower than our training time…but I guessed I needed the rest period in between…to climb all the way up was definitely more tiring… 😦 Nevertheless, it was a good experience and I had to say though I felt unusually tired and breatheless, I enjoyed myself…Come to think about it, it is still easier to complete a vertical marathon than a horizontal one, which would require hours to finish!

My last photo request was with the oldest participant – Mr Tan Soo Cheng,
who had been a regular face for the past eight Swissotel Vertical Marathon.
Before meeting him, I had thought he must be a very fit and energetic old uncle.
But when I saw him, I was surprised to see him actually moving very slowly,
typical of someone his age! At 84, he completed the climb in 37.17 minutes!
Absolutely fabulous! I hope I can be like him when I am 84! Great human

It was great to see the medic idling cos that means no one needed first aid!

With the scaling of Swissotel the Stamford, Itchyfngers put a memorable end to our series of races for the year 2010. We would be back for next year’s climb, this time hopefully we will be able to beat our own timing!

Cute to find this pair of fat lovebirds at the Cartlon Hotel after our climb…hahah

Also see related posts:
> Taking Baby Steps
Life is Great – Great Eastern Women 10K Run
The Ultimate X-Terrain Challenge – New Balance Real Run 2010
Ten Ten Ten Ten – The Prelude
An Uphill Task
Getting into Shape
Stepping Up @ NLB
Tortoise and Hare





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  1. eh did tisu boy carried his dslr up??

    • Hahah!!! Didn’t lah… 😀 But there are some ppl who did…

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