Beetham Tower Race Report. Includes Heavy Breathing

26 Feb 17  / Pete

798 stairs over 46 floors to conquer the tallest building in Manchester, the Beetham Tower. My Garmin currently reads 0.0miles ran and yet my body reads a very different distance!

“The only way is up…Baby!!”

Yes indeed, the only way is up. Not just a lyric from the old school tune by Yazz, but also the reality of this morning’s race. I was going 100% vertical. Oh, this was gonna hurt like a bitch. Despite this, I was still very excited to get started. I’m clearly a complete idiot 🙂

Beetham Tower Race 2017
Reckon I earned that glass 🙂

Beetham Tower Race 2017

The funny start line

This was such a surreal start for a race. For those of you that have not been in the Beetham Tower, it contains the Hilton hotel and the famous bar, Cloud 23. A rather pricey place to go for a drink and not the kind of place you would usually attend wearing your shorts and vest. So to be stood at reception getting counted down before embarking on a dash to the emergency staircase was quite different. The last time I was here was taking my Dad for drink for his birthday and I was in my fancy gear. That’s right, I own something other than running clothes!

Anyway, where the hell was I? Oh yes, I was about to attack 46 floors of madness. Or they were about to attack me. One or the other.

My race tactics

Having never done a race of this nature before, I had no strict tactics. I knew that this was going to be seriously tough so it was going to be a judgement call as I progressed.

I ran 2 steps at a time, not 1, trying to mix it up after a few floors but 1 step at a time just wasn’t enough! It felt like far more effort.

Beetham Tower Race 2017What a beast of a course!

Breathing was the problem

My legs were obviously going to get smashed but I could handle that pain. I’ve pushed these 2 lumps through far worse than this before now. The real factor in this race was breathing. Something I certainly prefer to be doing rather than not doing. I prefer not to compromise when it comes to allowing oxygen to enter my lungs!

By the time I got to roughly 50% of the way through the race, I realised that my chest was getting tight. I hadn’t swallowed since I started and my throat and lungs were working against me. The bastards!

“I really need all the help I can get here lads…don’t be giving up on me now you swines! Come on…Just 23 more floors!”

23 more floors? What am I doing? What a tit

I began to slow down, getting up each flight fairly well still but it was more of a short burst every other push up the stairs. It was no longer a constant running motion. Far from it. I probably looked like a body being dragged up by the time I was approaching the top.

I was the 6th person to begin in wave number 1 but I was 1st to the top with a time of 5 minutes 3 seconds. I will be honest, I was pretty damn happy with my time. The official record prior to this was 5 minutes 19 seconds and I had it in my head that I wanted to beat that, with no actual idea of how achievable that was. As it turns out, that was a feet that I could achieve!

Beetham Tower Race 2017
Nice bunch of lads from wave number 1. Well done guys!
Beetham Tower Race 2017
A massage with a view!

The bugger of a waiting game

My race was complete, but the day was far from over. Due to the nature of a staircase race, the waves were staggered over 4 hours during the day. I ran at 10am but there were others competing until 2pm.

After receiving my complimentary glass of bubbly along with a very good sports massage with the best view in Manchester, I was eagerly watching the screen of finishers times as the second wave came in. Everyone in my wave seemed impressed with my finishing time and I started to believe that I had a chance of being in the top 3, but as wave 2 progressed, my time was beaten by 2 other runners. I’ll be honest, I was a bit gutted. I was still over the moon with my time but once you see that position number 1 next to your name, you want to keep it!

I couldn’t sit and watch this for the next 3 hours. It was like torture hahaha. Time for food and a coffee! I’d return just after 2 to see where I’d finished. This waiting game had me guessing that I would drop quite a few places during the day but I was praying that I could stay as high up the list as possible.

Time to find out the results

Back up to Cloud 23 to see the final standings…

5th place! I didn’t drop as far as I had predicted throughout the day, but seeing that 3rd place was only 13 seconds faster than me, I can’t help wondering if I could have pushed harder than I did. Damn that top 3 would have tasted sweet!

Beetham Tower Race 2017
Boom! I did it!

My passion and desire have only been made stronger

Getting so close to the top 3 made me want it even more than I already knew. The fact that I had ran in the 1st wave allowed me to be positioned high from an early stage in the day. In hindsight, this probably made it a much tougher day as I had a fairly optimistic view that I would finish in the top 3. Well, that was until the next wave had run and then I was thinking that it would be more like 8th or 9th by the day’s end.

It’s a good thing that I wanted it so much and most certainly not a negative. It will be the very emotion that I will call upon next time I’m this close to a top 3 finish and I will use it to push me even harder at that very point, and then, hopefully, it will be the very thing that breaks me into that top 3 on that future occasion.

The Beetham Tower race was a tough few minutes work, it really was, but as expected…as with every new crazy run that I try, I will no doubt find more of this type of race to fill the void of those immense endorphins I crave once I’ve experienced them hahaha. Runners… We’re all frickin mental.

Happy running everyone and as always, thanks for reading!!!

Beetham Tower Race 2017
The view from my post race massage
Beetham Tower Race 2017
Pippa is always the winner overall
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