Race Report  – PAFC International Vertical Marathon Masters – PingAn Finance Centre – Shenzhen – May 26

Race Report – PAFC International Vertical Marathon Masters – PingAn Finance Centre – Shenzhen – May 26

PingAn Finance Centre is real skyscraper. With an official height of 599m it narrowly misses the podium in HighRise League. Originally an antenna was planned on top which would have made it Runner Up, but this would have conflicted with air traffic routes ! In Towerrunning scala with an altitude to climb of 541 m the PAFC International Vertical Marathon Masters  is No. 2, just 11 m less of our season final race, the Shanghai Tower International Vertical Marathon. But this race is No. 1 in respect of “slowest” winning times, because there are 8 flat sections of about 60m included in the race track of 3201 stairs covering 116 floors. Some athletes like the flats as short recovery helpers, others dislike it as rhytm breakers. Surely it adds a special touch to a very special race !
The Top6 Ladies of the TWA April Ranking were at the starting line. Naturally the top favourite was ranking leader Suzy Walsham coming to Shenzhen with two major convincing wins this May at Taipei 101 and Empire. But with 6 races in 6 countries on 3 continents within the last two months in her bag and hindered by a minor injury to keep her usual training routine this time it was different. After about 2/3 she had to “slow down” and finally missed her course record by 27 seconds. So Chinese Muhua Jian with a 1 second improvement compared to last year was fastest female of the day ! Another Chinese athlete, Qinglan Zhou completed the podium followed by Cindy Harris (USA) and Dominika Wisniewska-Ulfik from Poland. Athletes from 7 countries placed in the Top10.
On the male side the preconditions were different. Although 6 Top10 athletes were present, the Top3 for different reasons had to skip PingAn. In case of Germany’s ranking leader Christian Riedl the enjoyable reason of his missing was the birth of daughter Anna ! In a narrow race it was the day of Chinese Zhisen Liu. He was a mere five seconds faster than Ryoji Watanabe from Japan; those two were the only athletes faster than 20 minutes but without reach of Christian’s record. The third fastest athlete surprisingly came from the Open Category – Chao Yang Ye, a Chinese cycling pro with some experience in stair races. Next Wai Ching Soh from Malaysia followed by Alexis Trujillo (MEX) and Qinhua Liu (CHN). Germany’s Görge Heimann completed the seven athletes breaking 21 minutes.
In total 362 athletes made it to the top of PingAn and thanks to excellent organization by Tiker Sport we are already looking forward the next edition of PAFC International Vertical Marathon Masters !