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Racers, Take Your Step! Annual Empire State Building Climb

Annual Empire State Building Climb
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Annual Empire State Building Climb Wednesday

Talk about a tall tale.  Hundreds of people will take to the stairs at the Empire State Building on Wednesday night, climbing from the lobby to the 86th floor observatory. They'll be going up the 1,576 steps as part of the 38th annual Empire State Building Run-Up.

The tower climb is organized by the New York Road Runners, which also puts together the New York City Marathon.

The participants come from around the world and are led by the elite women's and men's groups. The general field follows, with staggered, seconds-apart start times for racers so as to avoid a crush of people all trying to get into the stairwell at the same time.

Last year, Australia native Suzy Walsham won the women's event for a record fifth time, in 11 minutes and 57 seconds. Thorbjorn Ludvigsen, of Norway, won the men's race in 10:06. Both were expected to take part in this year's race.

The course records are 9 minutes, and 33 seconds for the men, set by Paul Crake of Australia in 2003, and 11 minutes and 23 seconds for the women. That was set by Andrea Mayr of Austria in 2006.

Thomas Dold of Germany holds the record for most men's victories, with seven.

The Empire State Building is one of the more well-known tower climbs around the world.