Hundreds of spectators gathered on Saturday 16 February 2013 to watch eager participants conquer the Torch-Doha Hotel in Aspire Zone Foundation’s (AZF) second annual Torch-Doha Hotel Staircase Run. Competitors raced up 1,304 stairs to the 51st floor in an attempt to beat staircase runner extraordinaire Thomas Dold and claim the highly coveted first place position.

Group Staircase Run
A group photo of the Torch-Doha Hotel Staircase Run, including Thomas Dold

The 240 competitors were comprised of local and international runners including the Minister of Justice, HE Hasan Bin Abdullah Al Ghanem.

‘I really enjoyed taking part in the race, it’s an excellent sport. I advise employees to start taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator,’ said Al Ghanem.

Dold is world leader in the sport of professional tower running and won his seventh consecutive race to the top of the Empire State Building in New York last year. Dold was the first runner to set off on Saturday, setting an incredible time of 6:31 for the competitors to beat.

It’s an unbelievable feeling, reaching the top, ‘Dold stated at the end of the race.

‘Aspire Zone and the Torch-Doha Hotel did a wonderful job. I think today we have seen a really good competition, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do next year. This run has the potential to become world-class,’ he added.

The winner of the men’s race was Jiri Vysteijn with a time of 7:48, while Elizabeth Cothran Isom was the fastest in the women’s category with a time of 9:25.

Jiri Vysteijn, an expatriate from the Czech Republic, stated:

‘This is not my first staircase run, I participated in the inaugural event in 2012, so I knew what to expect this year. I love taking part in races in the morning, what a great way to start off your day.’

Families, friends, and members of the public spurred on the racers as they completed the exhausting climb. A variety of entertainment was on offer catering to the whole community, including a bouncy castle, face painting stalls, and a balloon artist.

Final Results

Men's staircase run

Men’s Category

1 – Jiri Vysteijn, 7:48

2 – Richard Kimani, 8:27

3 – Ben Simpson, 8:39

Women's staircase race

Women’s Category

1 – Elizabeth Cothran Isom, 9:25

2 – Arnlaug Wangensteen, 9:29

3 – Raimey Adelle Olthius, 10:35

 Men's staircase run

Professional’s Category

1 – Thomas Dold, 6:31

2 – Omar Bekkali, 6:52

3 – Rolf Majcen, 7:12

The winners were awarded with a selection of fantastic prizes including a variety of vouchers for the Torch-Doha Hotel.

It took approximately 30 minutes for the entire facade to be fully lit.

Over 2,000 spectators gathered, whistling, clapping and cheering on the on the cyclists, including Steve Goodburn:

‘This event is the first of its kind in Qatar. It’s a great example of what we can achieve if we work together. Plus, it’s fun and good for the environment. This was truly a great initiative from Aspire Zone.’

The Torch-Doha Hotel Staircase Run and ‘Light the Torch’ events were organised in cooperation between Aspire Zone Foundation and Torch-Doha Hotel. These events are a testament to Aspire Zone Foundation’s ongoing dedication to fostering a healthier nation and promoting active lifestyles to the community.