June 21 -  GP of Europe Women     Galleries:  Vienna     Brno    Bratislava   

As with the men’s competition, the overall Grand Prix of Europe standings for the elite women went down to the wire in the final race in Bratislava, although the action started early on Friday evening up the 779 steps of the Danube Tower in Vienna.  As the runners took off in descending order based on their TWA World Cup ranking, all eyes were on the final three runners.  Polish mountain running champion Dominika Wisniewska Ulfik first posted a personal best 4:44.6, while World Cup silver medalist Lenka Svabikova (CZE) followed next in 4:45.7.  But it was four-time World Cup Champion Suzy Walsham (AUS) who took the eventual win and collected the maximum 78 points in a personal best 4:29.7.  In a surprise twist, the local Austrian winner of the women’s open event, Brigitte Stocker, broke the 5 minute mark and achieved fifth place in the overall women’s standings.

Saturday’s race moved to the 700 step AZ Tower in Brno, and although the stairwell was shorter and faster, the final steep, outdoor four floors provided a late-race challenge.  Svabikova was keen to improve her overall standings, but started out too fast, and faded slightly to finish in 3:49.9, claiming third place from fellow Czech Zuzana Krchova by only 0.1 seconds. The other two podium positions followed the same order as the previous day, with Walsham taking the win in 3:39.2 from Ulfik in 3:46.1.  After two days of competition, Walsham lead with 146 points, Ulfik was second with 122 and Svabikova third in 106 points.  “It’s been a tiring week for me so I am really happy to come away with two wins” commented Walsham, “I just have to keep it together for tomorrow and be on the podium.”

The final positions would be decided in the UFO’s short, narrow and spiraling staircase.  It was in this race last year that Svabikova first beat Walsham, and she knew she would have to repeat that performance to overtake Ulfik in the overall pointscore.  Despite slower times than the previous year, Walsham reversed the tables on Svabikova to win by just 0.1 seconds and take a clean sweep of victories and the overall title.  In a twist of fate, Ulfik took third place from Krchova also by 0.1 seconds.  And so it was that the overall Grand Prix second and third positions were decided by just 0.1 second, with Ulfik scoring 174 points from Svabikova’s 166.  “The weekend was great.  I especially enjoyed the Bratislava race because of the atmosphere and organization” Svabikova said.  Ulfik acknowledged the closeness of the competition “The Grand Prix of Europe was a real battle. I had some luck today but I am very happy with my overall second place”.  Her continued strong performance in leading World Cup races will now see her jump to third place in the TWA World Cup rankings,

The global attraction of the event was evident by the representation of 7 nations from 3 continents in the women’s Top 10, with the Czech Republic featuring prominently with 4 athletes.  In total, 43 athletes from eleven countries scored overall Grand Prix points.

June 21 -  GP of Europe Men     Galleries:  Vienna     Brno    Bratislava     

The TWA Grand Prix of Europe’s 3-day challenge started at one of Europe’s most historic races, with the 19th edition of the Donauturm Treppenlauf.  The tallest building in Austria, and the longest of the three events, Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) showed he was the man to beat running a personal best 3:25.7, to shave 1.2 seconds from his 2014 time.  Collecting valuable points, Tomas Celko (SVK) came in second in 3:29.7, and Tomas Macecek (CZE) ran a 6 second personal best to post 3:37.6.  But it was only the start of a long weekend of competition and after arriving back at the hotel close to midnight, the athletes didn’t have much time to catch up on valuable rest before embarking on the next event.

Saturday’s race moved to the Czech Republic’s tallest tower in Brno, the AZ Tower.  After a strong first race, local hero Macecek was looking forward to another good performance, “After my race in Vienna, I was so happy and self-confident for my home race” he said, but was left disappointed with his eventual sixth place, and slipped to fourth place in the overall standings with 104 points.  While the first and second places mirrored the previous day’s results, Celko ran a personal best 2:58.0 to close the time gap and finish less than 2 seconds behind Lobodzinski’s winning 2:56.1.  Third place went to Jakob Mayer (AUT), who moved into 3rd place in the overall standings with 114 points.  At the leaderboard, Lobodzinski’s 2 wins from 2 races saw him extend his lead from Celko by 24 points.

As spectators huddled around the live results board, the final thrilling race up Bratislava’s iconic UFO Tower played out.  Celko repeated his previous winning performances in Bratislava to claim his 3rd UFO Vertical Sprint title, finishing almost 4 seconds clear of second place.  “After two second places, I knew that I had to win UFO, and I am so happy to get my hattrick of victories here”, smiled Celko, “But if I would like to win overall, the result did not just depend on me.”  Indeed, Lobodzinski needed to finish on the podium to ensure an overall Grand Prix win, and in the end only 0.4 seconds separated second from fourth, critically impacting the final standings.  Lobodzinski clinched second place in 1:49.41, Macecek lunged at the line to claim third in 1:49.64 and secured his overall third-placed ranking, while Stefan Stefina (SVK) came in fourth in 1:49.80.  The closeness of the finish was not lost on Lobodzinski, “I am very happy to with the overall Grand Prix, but it was very close.  Luck was with me today.”

The top 5 male athletes shared in a prize pool of EUR2,100 and the final men’s standings saw Lobodzinski take the victory with 228 points, Celko second with 216 points and Macecek with 164 points.  An indication of the closeness of the competition, only 10 points separated third from fifth, with Stefina coming in fourth with 156 points, narrowly ahead of Mayer on 154 points.  Overall, six European nations were represented in the Top 10, and 46 athletes from 11 different countries scored overall Grand Prix points.

June 21 -  Grand Prix of Europe     Vienna     Brno    Bratislava   Full report and Gallery coming

After a thrilling three days of competition the TWA Grand Prix of Europe reached its exciting conclusion at the UFO Vertical Run in Bratislava, with Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) and Suzy Walsham (AUS) securing overall Grand Prix victories. After winning the first two races in Vienna and Brno it seemed Lobodzinksi would repeat his performance from last year’s European Championships, however in the short and technically challenging UFO Tower, Tomas Celko (SVK) took the win with Lobodzinski coming in second.  With only 0.4 seconds between second and fourth place, Lobozinski secured his overall Grand Prix victory by only 0.5 seconds. Celko placed second overall with his two seconds and first place from the three races, while Czech Republic’s Tomas Macecek took third overall after placing third, sixth and third.

In the women’s race, Walsham scored a hat trick of victories, however her win in the final race was the smallest margin ever in a women’s Grand Prix race, crossing the line only 0.1sec faster than Lenka Svabikova (CZE).  Dominika Wisniewsksa Ulfik (POL) came in third, also only 0.1 seconds ahead of fourth placed Zuzana Krchova (CZE), just enough for her to secure the overall Grand Prix second place with her two second places from the first two races.  Svabikova was a close third overall with her two thirds and a second place. The successful three days of competition saw more than 400 athletes from 19 countries run up more than 1,900 stairs.  While no course records were broken, many athletes achieved at least one personal best and newcomers have set benchmarks to chase in years to come.

June 20 - Czech Towerrunning Association 

We welcome the Czech Towerrunning Association as full member of the TWA. Their application was approved by a clear vote of the Towerrunning World Council. A respective certificate was handed over within the victory ceremony of the second leg of the Grand Prix of Europe in Brno. The Czech team recently won the silver medal at the inaugural Towerrunning World Championships in Doha.

June 20 - Intermediate Standings Grand Prix of Europe                  Females     Males

Before the final event in Bratislava Suzy Walsham (AUS) and Piotr Lobodzinski (POL) with wins in Vienna and Brno are the clear favourites to take the titles. The chasing field is led by two time runners up Dominika Wisniewska-Ulfik (POL) and Tomas Celko (SVK) promising an exciting final race at the UFO.

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May 7 - Reminder: TWA registration for 2015 World Cup season  still possible - 24€ (18€ under  20 or 50+)
In the 2015 season the Towerrunning World Association and our sport will do another step towards global professionalization by introducing an athlete registration system, connected with a systematic data management and new services.
All athletes can sign up by filling in a registration form. Subsequently, you will receive your individual TWA Athlete ID number. This ID together with your password will give you access to a personal page in a protected area of the TWA website. From 2015 your individual access can be used to view your race results and statistics, to apply for TWA elite athlete support (travel packages ...) and register for international Towerrunning championships.
The license fee is 24€ for the whole season (reduced fee of 18€ for athletes under 20 or 50+). Preliminary registered athletes can convert their account into an official TWA license for the 2015 season from within their profile.

June 11 -  Grand Prix of Europe June 19-21, 2015  - Preview     
Women’s race preview

While the men’s field features predominantly European athletes, the elite women’s field is more international with Asia/Oceania Champion Suzy Walsham (AUS) and North American’s Veronica Stocker (CAN) joining top European athletes Lenka Svabikova (CZE), Dominica Ulfik (POL), Zuzana Krchova (CZE) and Christina Bonacina (ITA).

TWA World Cup leader and World Championships silver medalist Walsham will be looking to go one better than her overall second place last year, while top ranked Canadian Veronica Stocker will be competing in Europe for the first time, after a successful first half of the year in North American races. They will both face tough competition from World Cup silver medalist and inform sprint specialist Svabikova, who has bounced back from a disappointing World Championships campaign with a series of recent wins, while World Championship bronze medalist Ulfik will be looking to continue her impressive run of top tier podium finishes. In the mix will also be Krchova, 5th at last year’s European Championships and Bonacina, one of the most experienced tower runners in the world.

The TWA caught up with these athletes to get their thoughts and hopes for the race:

Suzy Walsham: “These buildings are challenging for me as I prefer the taller buildings, but training is going well and I just have to stay focused and go as hard as I can. It’s always a great weekend of competition and I am looking forward to it.”

Lenka Svabikova: “I am looking forward to the race, because last year it was one of the best races and I have many nice memories of it. I would like to do my best – I am back in a good shape and I would like to be on the podium.”

Veronica Stocker: "I am very grateful for the opportunity to race for the first time in Europe, and am looking forward to this exciting new challenge.”

Christina Bonacina: “I am very happy to participate in the Grand Prix of Europe, is always a pleasure to meet and compete with my friends from all over the world. I trained a lot in recent times and I hope to have good results. I prefer to race the taller buildings but it' s always nice to get in the game.”

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