Tower running up the ‘walkie-talkie’: like a fell race but with concrete.

The Step Up 3,2,1 challenge involves scaling 71 stories of landmark London real estate, with a summit finish in the Sky Garden of one of the capital’s newest architectural icons, explains the Guardian’s Nick Mead. 

Competitors climb Portland House, 5 Strand and the Walkie Talkie. Photographs: Land Securities/Wikipedia Commons/Mencap

Competitors climb Portland House, 5 Strand and the Walkie Talkie. Photographs: Land Securities/Wikipedia Commons/Mencap

 

We hugged tight to the north bank of the River Thames as we headed towards our final 160-metre climb, the bullying bulk of 20 Fenchurch Street (AKA the walkie-talkie) looming as a constant reminder of the challenge to come. It was almost reminiscent of a fell race – just with a lot more concrete.

A runner flying up the event’s 1,672 steps. Photograph: Mencap

A runner flying up the event’s 1,672 steps. Photograph: Mencap

The Step Up 3,2,1 challenge, (the 2015 race took place earlier this month), in aid of learning disability charity Mencap, gives runners a chance to climb three London towers. First up is the 27-storey Portland House in Victoria; followed by a 1.5-mile dash to 5 Strand (a mere eight floors). A lovely 2.5-mile run along the Thames Path – the riverside route I wish the London marathon could take – brings you to the foot of the capital’s newest and most imposing skyscraper. Then it’s just 36-storeys between you and a glass of champagne in the Sky Garden on the summit of the walkie-talkie.

All in all, that’s four miles and 71-storeys – just one shy of the Shard’s highest public floor – so it’s not over as quickly as the “gherkin challenge” or the “vertical dash up Tower 42”.

Competitors enjoy the spectacular views from the top of the Walkie Talkie. All three towers are owned by Land Securities. Photograph: Mencap

Competitors enjoy the spectacular views from the top of the Walkie Talkie. All three towers are owned by Land Securities. Photograph: Mencap

 

 

 

The fastest runner in the Step Up 3,2,1 took 38 minutes. More importantly, the 130 competitors raised an estimated £45,000 for Mencap.

The above article by Nick Mead first published on theguardian.com on Mar 18th, 2015.

Tower running was last modified: March 24th, 2015 by thisisgoodwork