Champions Repeat at NYRR Empire State Building Run-Up

His fourth-straight victory, her third, in the
race’s 32nd running

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(Courtesy of Running USA wire)

NEW YORK – (February 3, 2009) – Thomas Dold of Germany
and Suzy Walsham of Australia defended their titles on Tuesday at the
32nd NYRR Empire State Building Run-Up. Dold, a 24-year-old university
student from Stuttgart, Germany, led from wire-to-wire to capture his fourth
straight victory in 10 minutes, 7 seconds, while Walsham, 35, who lives in
Singapore, overcame a fall at the start to take the lead late in the race; her
winning time was 13:27.

Marco De Gasperi of Italy (10:29) was the men’s
runner-up; Rickey Gates of Colorado (10:40) placed third. The women’s
runner-up was Daniela Vassalli of Italy (13:40), and four-time champion
Cindy Harris of Indiana (13:49) placed took third.

Dold’s time was the fastest of his four victories here, in
part because he secured a smooth passage into the stairwell from the starting
line in the lobby of New York’s tallest building. “I entered the stairway
first,” said Dold, whose time was one second faster than his 2008 clocking. “I
trained to win, but sometimes training is not enough – you have to have some
luck, and I did today.”

Walsham wasn’t quite as lucky in the women’s race, staged
separately. A collision just before the stairwell entrance sent her slamming
into the marble wall, then crashing to the ground. She got to her feet behind
several women. “I was in pain – and shock,” Walsham said. “But then I said,
well, I didn’t come all this way to pull out, so I’ll just concentrate on
passing the women in front of me.”

Walsham crossed the finish line in obvious distress and
received immediate medical attention for her swollen nose, lip and left knee.
She later recovered enough to greet the media and her fans and to accept her
champion’s trophy – carried to the awards stage by Dold.

“This is such a special win for me,” said Dold, who is one
victory shy of tying five-time winners Al Waquie (1983-87) and Paul
Crake
(1999-2003) for the greatest number of Run-Up titles. “You have to
train a lot to get a victory like this, and it gets harder every year – lots of
guys want it.”

A total of 249 runners finished the 2009 NYRR Empire State
Building Run-Up, an invitational event that has been on NYRR’s annual calendar
since 1978.

Complete results are available at: NYRR.org

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