Asia’s top tower runner Soh Wai Ching from Malaysia aiming to get into Guinness World Records

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 — If running up flights of stairs for an hour isn’t crazy enough, what about dashing up 1.3km of steps in an hour?

That’s what Asia No 1 and world No 2 Malaysian tower runner, Soh Wai Ching, 26, hopes to achieve on November 18 to get his name into the Guinness World Records (GWR).

(According to the GWR website, GWR Day — taking place on said date this year — sees thousands of people around the world coming together with the common goal of becoming a title holder.)

The current vertical stair-climbing record is being held by Spaniard, David Robles Tapia, who climbed 1.227km in Zaragoza, Spain on January 20, 2019.

The Malaysia Towerrunning Association founding president is preparing to climb a 40-storey building about 10 times in an hour, which includes the time spent in an elevator to descend to the ground.

“I have submitted my applications to GWR. Hoping to get a positive reply, which will take about 10-12 weeks.

“My goal is to make Malaysia proud and known to the whole world, which will also promote the sport and inspire more youths, sportsmen and sportswomen during this pandemic,” said Soh.

He said he is hoping to make the attempt at an iconic building like the Petronas Twin Towers or Four Seasons Hotel next to it.

“The lift must be fast and not far from the stairs. Based on my calculations, I need to climb up 40 storeys in four minutes and 48 seconds. The lift coming down might take about a minute. So indirectly, I have 10 seconds to buffer, like walking to the lift, from the lift or grabbing a drink and continuing the run,” he told Bernama.

Aside from the GWR, Soh also hopes to claim the world No 1 spot from Pole, Piotr Lobodzinski, who leads with 964 points and Soh is trailing by 10 points.

The former long-distance runner had upset Lobodzinski early this year at the Vertical Run Al Mas Tower 2019 in Dubai when he dashed up 70 floors (1,450 steps/245m) in seven minutes and 59 seconds.

“I am very hopeful that the 2020 Eiffel Tower Vertical will be held as scheduled on Sept 30 and I will be able travel to Paris to participate. I managed to beat Piotr in February and have not lost in all five events I took part in this year.

“I am improving and getting stronger, so I am confident of wresting the No 1 spot by beating Piotr again, although he is a five-time champion there.

“To train, I run up 800 — 1,000 floors a week. With the event getting closer, I am adding 7-8kg of body weights to build up my strength,” he said.

The Universiti Malaya sports science graduate said that even when Selayang—where he lives—was put under the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) for 23 days, he continued training by doing chair step-ups 3,000 times a day. — Bernama

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