There were a few prerace favourites. One of them, Wai Ching Soh, was not eligible for Championship glory, but travelled to Warsaw to collect ranking points. The Malaysian, fresh Number One after the ranking restart, was keen to race on highest level and extend an unbeaten series of 19 stair races.The streak started before the pandemy on February 1, 2020 at Almas Tower in Dubai, where for the first time ever Wai Ching beat Poland’s Piotr Lobodzinski by 2 seconds. Unfortunately Piotr, who did not race on stairs since then, had to withdraw just a few days before this much expected duel with home advantage at Rondo 1. Another favourite was the defending champion Christian Riedl from Germany who is able to win everywhere he races. Nobody spoke much about Fabio Ruga from Italy despite his Rondo history of a win 10 years ago and a bronze medal at the 2016 European Championships.
Like the females the very first male climb remained the fastest of the day. Wai Ching Soh clocked 3:41,5 followerd by a 3:49 from Christian Riedl. And then with bib 5 Fabio Ruga reached the top and his time was 3:41,8 – just 0,3 sec slower then Wai Ching ! A bit of surprise. Only two ather athletes managed sub4 times in the 1st heat, Austrian Jakob Mayer and Czech Tomas Macecek. But Jakob already knew that he had pushed to much from the beginning. He had not been racing stairs for a long time and has no suitable training options near his home. Before he switched to mountain runs a few years ago Tomas had been very competitive on the stairs and obviously his legs had not forgotten this special feeling.
The athletes were brought down immediately in two elevator rides and about 15 minutes after the first heat had to attack the building again for the final heat. In contrast to the females 7 athletes (all outside the medal race) managed to clock a faster time in the second heat: Tomas Celko (SVK), Irakli Chubinashvili (GEO), both athletes from the Netherlands ( Gerko Floor and Marlo Post ), Matthew Pleass (GBR) and two home runners; with the greatest improvement of nearly 20 seconds Daniel Koszykowski and with a nearly identical time Krzysztof Gawlas !
Heat two started with a 3:55 by Wai Ching followed by a slightly faster 3:52 from Christian. Everybody waited for Fabio and he did it. His 3:50,7 proved to be the fastest time in the second heat and crowned the Italian European Champion 5 seconds clear of Wai Ching and 10 before Christian meaning silver medal for the German athlete. With his 4:17 Tomas managed to take bronze like his partner Adela ! Stefan Stefina (SVK) overtook Jakob so taking 4th in the Championships and as best home athlete Pawel Ruszala placed 7th overall and as 6th in the Championships took the last money rank.
Finally we have to thank Piotr Jakobik and his team from Sportevolution for perfectly organizing this 1oth edition of Bieg Na Szczyt Rondo 1 with 500+ amateur runners as well as firefighter and kids divisions. There were happy faces all around and with the European Championships the international Towerrunning family celebrated a great revival !