SURPRISED guests in the reception area of Benidorm’s Gran Hotel Bali stood back and let 120 athletes steam past them in their race to be the first to the top of the building. This year’s was the eighth year that the event has been staged and is now a permanent fixture in the world wide calendar of stair climbing.
Some feat considering it is Europe’s tallest hotel, with the climb taking in 52 storeys, or 924 steps, or 165 vertical metres. Whichever way it’s measured, it’s a gruelling test of stamina.
A group of four firefighters from Zaragoza took part .They were Juan Antonio Fernández Molina, Carlos Grimaldi, David Robles and Alberto Gómez. This is now one of the most prestigious events in racing worldwide with participants coming from around the world.
The spectacle resembles the Grand National, in that a mass of runners set off simultaneously in a mad dash. And the sport is now so recognised and established that it even has its own Olympics, the next ones being due to be held in New York this summer.
This year’s winner was Spanish Angel Llorens, who just failed to beat the record of the competition, set in 2003 by Australian Paul Crake, climbing the tower in an incredible 4 minutes 35 seconds.
By Paul Deed