20110607

Megsy #6 - Compete in Tower Running

As a little girl growing up on the NSW South Coast, going to cities with skyscrapers was always a memorable day out. I would marvel at their heights and wonder how structures so tall could be built in the first place. Then my mind would wander; thinking about how long a lift would take to reach the top, or worse still, if the lift would break and people were forced to walk. Imagine then my surprise upon discovering that running up stairs of skyscrapers is a sport!  

To me, Tower Running conjures up images of elite athletes, scaling two stairs at a time to the summit. At least that's what I remember when seeing the 'quirky' news story at the end of a broadcast showing runners take on Sydney's Centre Point Tower or New York's Empire State Building. I, on the other hand, could not be further away from this representation! I opt for escalators and lifts rather than stairs, unless of course they're the stairs at home (I live on the 4th floor of an apartment block) or my workplace (which is also on a 4th floor).  That, and I am nearly always wearing a pair of high heels. Even on weekends. Even doing the grocery shopping. 

So besides wanting to climb the Empire State Building dressed as a gorilla, I have always wanted to compete in Tower Running...in heels! Welcome to Item #6 on my 100 Things list!

A few weeks ago I read a RT on Twitter which was calling for participants to climb 30 St Mary Axe, aka The Gherkin in London, in aid of Step Up 4 Christchurch: New Zealand Earthquake Appeal. (www.stepup4christchurch.com). The Gherkin is half owned by NZ company Evans Randall with the CEO having family affected by the natural disaster. The devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake in February 2011 claimed 181 lives and left hundreds more homeless. Based in London, this tragedy seemed to me to be another horrific news story so far away, however this natural disaster was much closer to home. I'd never met a NZer until I moved to London, despite having lived most of my life just across the ditch in Oz. Since, they've been my flatmates, colleagues, friends...The antipodean community is very strong in London and it seems that everyone here knows someone (who knows someone) that has been directly affected by the quake. For me, that person was one of my students, Alice. She and her family had moved to a Christchurch just weeks before and was there when it struck. The strength of character this 7 year old has displayed since is nothing short of remarkable. And so I signed up to do it - to climb all 1037 steps in stilettos. 
 
I hope to raise  £1037 (£1 for every step). See my progress here: http://www.everydayhero.co.uk/megan_ellis  

Bronwen and Naomi, two of the organisers for Step Up 4 Christchurch, were amazing! When they became aware of my motivation to take part they set up an interview with 3News NZ (Firstline) who filmed me at different stages throughout the climb. I surprised myself by running the first 4 floors but knowing you're on camera makes you want to look good!  But it wasn't long before my lack of physical fitness took over as I gripped the railings a little bit harder. My legs felt like lead. It was at this moment I wished I had done a few more sessions on the Step machine at the gym. Or any sessions at the gym! The motivational posters on each floor helped as did the "Keep going" messages and bemused smiles of the people who overtook me. But in just 17m49s I reached the top and was rewarded with a flute of champagne and the best ever views of the London skyline. The day was a huge success. How do I know? Because everyone who took part helped to raised over £275k/$550k for the people of Christchurch and my feet were blister and Band Aid free! Not bad considering I had only bought the shoes the day before. Although I would have happily made off with a podiatrist had I found one!

Now, about the Empire State Building...


Step Up 4 Christchurch helped raise £275k/$550k



1037 steps in stilettos




Perfect running attire



The Gherkin



I Spy the London Eye!
 


Pit stop



News NZ (Firstline)


Tower Bridge and Tower of London


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