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Taipei 101 stairwell clogged with climbers racing to the top
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-04 08:18 PM
For a few years Taipei 101 boasted the world’s fastest elevators, but on Sunday a throng of people took the stairs instead, zipping up the 2048 steps to the top of the stairwell in the tenth annual running of the Taipei 101 Stair Climb.

Clocking in at 11 minutes and 19 seconds was Germany's Thomas Dold, who finished in first place to take back the title he lost last year to Marco DeGasperi of Italy. DeGasperi was second with a time of 11:31. Two more Italians, Valentina Belotti and Antonella Confor, led the way in the women’s division with times of 13:51 and 13:52 respectively – only a second apart.

Among local runners, the best time was recorded by sixth-place finisher Chen Fu-tsai with a time of 12:47. Lee Hsiao-yu of Taiwan, who was runner-up in last year’s climb, finished in ninth this year with a time of 16:52.

Another notable in this year’s competition was Paralympic gold medalist Henry Wanyoike of Kenya, a visually-impaired who reached the top in 16:19 in his first stab at the climb.

Dold was followed up the stairwell by a total of more than 5,000 runners, the largest number of participants since the stair climb in 2011 during the ROC Centennial year.

One highlight of the contest was the Celebrity Relay which pitted three teams made up of 20 runners from various walks in Taipei – foreign diplomats, executives from Taipei 101 tenant corporations and owners in various enterprises in Xinyi District, passing a baton as they climbed to the 91st floor 390 meters above the ground.

Another climber garnering a lot of attention was Peng Hung-nian, the oldest competitor at 94 years old, who made it to the top in a very respectable 53:38. It was Peng’s seventh consecutive appearance in the climb, and he vowed to continue participating until he reaches the age of… 101, of course.

The stair climb and related events raised a total of NT$2.45 million (US$85,505) for visually impaired people in Taiwan. The funds will be shared by the Parents' Association for the Visually Impaired in Taipei and the Recording Books Service Center for the Blind in Hsinchu as well as by visually impaired athlete Lin Shin-wei of Taiwan, who is currently preparing for the Paralympic Games.

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