On June 26, the 2016 edition of the incomparable Towerthon was run. Athletes from all over the US, and several from nearby Mexico descended on San Diego for the unique two-hour slog up the steps.
First, however, was the single climb sprint. Pulling off the upset on the men’s side was G.M. Grena, winning the sprint with a time of 2:00. Right behind by mere fractions of a second was Scott Stanley with a time of 2:00. Third was relative newcomer Brian Zamboni with a time of 2:06. Missing the podium by only a tick of the clock or two were Joshua Duncan ( 2:06 ), Michael Caviston ( 2:07 ) and Daniel Dill ( 2:08 ).
On the women’s side, Christine Soskins won with a 2:19, followed by Amy Brown with a 2:23, and Linda Viner with a 2:33. Also under 3 minutes was Madeleine Fontillas Ronk with a 2:47.
After a recovery period, the two hour slog began. Climbers had 2 hours to power their way up the steps as many times as possible, returning down the elevator for the next lap.
Unfortunately, the elevator returns turned out to be problematic. Two separate groups of climbers got caught in the elevators; one for 7 minutes, and one for 45 minutes! This reduced the number of functioning elevators to one for quite a period of time, resulting in both crowded rides down and long waits--your writer experienced a 8 minute wait, and several that were multiple minutes apiece.
Towards the end, people dropped out or took long breaks, which freed up the elevators. The staircases also cleared up, resulting in more efficient laps. The two hours elapsed, and most climbers were finished, but the competitors who had been stuck in the elevators climbed on, making up for their lost time, leaving the final result in doubt until all were complete.
In the end, Christine Soskins prevailed on the women’s side, with 24 climbs, and a best climb of 2:40. Linda Viner followed close behind with 23 climbs and a best climb of 2:58. Amy Brown with third with 21 climbs and a best climb of 2:42.
On the men’s side, Scott Stanley took the top spot with 27 climbs and a best climb of 2:37. Second was Michael Caviston with 25 climbs and a best of 3:04, and third was Ignacio Manrique with 24 climbs and a best of 2:42.
Also joining the “vertical mile” club was David Hanley with 23 climbs (22 needed for the vertical mile) and a best of 2:58, which was good enough to win men’s 40-49. David eagerly awaits his vertical mile T-Shirt.
Congratulations to all our overall winners, age groupers, and everyone who participated in this fascinating and grueling event!