Saturday, 3-26-2011 the inaugural Charlotte Duke Energy Center Race to the Top took place. Over 500 runners braved the chilly, rainy spring morning to give it their best shot. 2011 Results
There was a lot of buzz in the Charlotte running community leading up to the race. Participants were to race to the top of the Duke Energy Center’s 49th floor, divided into flights based upon their chosen experience level. Climbers started in 15 second waves to reduce congestion, while allowing for an optimal climbing environment.
The energy at the start of the race was amazing. Everyone shared the same thought; how is this going to go? Participants talked, shared strategies and discussed the fact that today we were all setting the bar for next year.
Flight 1 started promptly at 9:00 am. I nestled myself somewhere in the middle of the 50 climber flight. Walking up to the entry door, a calm feeling came over my body…no nervous energy; instead I would compare the feeling to bliss. After a 15 second count down, I was instructed to go. The rest went by very quickly; focus immediately shifted to my feet and breathing. My strategy was bounding, with an explosion from each right turn. At floor 34, I grabbed a much needed sip of water (your mouth becomes very dry in a stairwell), and pushed the last few flights to complete just under 8 minutes, 7:58 to be exact. 49 floors, no problem!
This post race report would not be complete without calling out a few other local friends that participated. In addition, I would like to highlight the 16 Charlotte Firefighters that competed in full gear!
Overall the experience was amazing. Two things I would like to see next year
1. At the finish (top of the building) a view would be nice…instead we were lead from the hallway through an industrial room to the elevator 🙁
2. More air in the stairwell. Breathing was a challenge, the oxygen was heavy and post-race my lungs felt congested, a few other participants shared this same concern.
The event was well executed by the Charlotte Sports Commission, and I would like to thank all the volunteers that supported all climbers.