I'm a big fan of your station. I grew up on Mercer Island and have been a Seattle business owner since 1998.
I'm not sure how/if this story would be of interest to you, but I thought I'd send it your way in case because it certainly piques people's interest every time I mention it:
Did you know that Seattle is the home of two top 10 world Tower Runners as well as the oldest tower runner in the NW?
Have you even heard of the sport of Tower Running? Not many people have, but when they do, they are amazed.
Tower Running is the most intense sport on the planet. Athletes race up the stairwells of skyscrapers, usually for a charity fund raiser, benefiting the fight against a deadly disease. These athletes travel all over the world to participate in these races and it's one of the most rapidly growing sports today.
There are hundreds of tower races across the globe, with more than 50 in the USA alone. It's a huge sensation in Europe, with athletes making so much money from winnings and sponsorships, they are completely supporting themselves. Like other trends that start in Europe and spread west, this one is no exception. The growth in the US over the last few years looks exponential and indicates a coming explosion of this sport.
For most people who do a tower run, at floor 20, they are on their knees or are taking their first break at the water station, but in most races, that is usually only 1/3 of the way to the top. The Columbia Tower race in Seattle for instance, is 69 grueling floors. Over the last 26 years, it has grown to boast the largest turnout of any tower race in the world at over 6,000 participants. A Seattle resident, Kourtney Dexter, 31 years old, is the reinging champion for the last three years and holds the course record. Another Seattle resident, Shirley Lansing is the oldest racer at 83 years young. This will be Shirley's 3rd time up the tower. She started tower running when she turned 80 and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, like Kourtney, Shirley gets faster every year.
Kourtney is also a world ranked tower runner through www.towerruning.com, the only world ranking organization so far and the authority on the sport of tower running. Kourtney earned 4th place in the world for 2011 and holds course records now in all three of Seattle's tower race courses, namely the Columbia Tower, the 1201 3rd avenue tower (previously known as the WaMu tower) and the 2 Union Tower. She also holds the record for the AON building in LA, the Springfield Hilton tower in Illinois, the BOA tower in San Francisco, and the Bennington Monument in Vermont.
She is the obvious favorite to win the upcoming 26th annual Columbia Tower climb coming up this March 25th, here in Seattle.
Shirley is also the favorite to win the 80+ age group, not just because she is the only competitor, but because she's pretty darn fast to boot. You would never guess that she is a breast cancer and thyroid cancer survivor either. We call her a "thriver" because "survivor" is such an understatement when you see her energy and spirit!
We have another top 10 world tower runner here in Seattle as well. Kevin Crossman is an amazing local athlete who even holds the record at the Stratosphere tower in Vegas! He will be defending is title there this weekend. He will also be at the Columbia Tower race on 3/25.
The winning team for the last two years and current team course record holders is the X Gym team, led by PJ Glassey, X Gym owner and another local tower runner, who is ranked #8 in the USA. The X Gym team also holds the fastest team records in the other two Seattle tower races. It's no coincidence that Kourtney, Kevin and Shirley have all trained at the X Gym to master this sport and achieve the elite level of conditioning required.
You are more than welcome to interview these great athletes and see them train to get ready for the Big Climb.
My videos are hi def and might take up too much space on your site, so in lieu of uploading them, Here is a sample video of one of our many different types of training sessions: http://youtu.be/dxGOyrTNikM
Our latest race video (up the old WaMu tower is here: http://youtu.be/f4Ju6XVBGd8
The sport of Tower Running and it's intensity is depicted very well here: http://vimeo.com/21263268