UAE: SkyRun up 52 floors of Dubai’s iconic Emirates Towers sets new records

81 women took part in the vertical race that saw 12 teams, 19 international elite runners and hundreds of other competitors
Image Credit: Getty Images for Dubai Holding

Dubai: New records have been set in the ‘Dubai Holding SkyRun’ that saw hundreds of runners dash up 52 floors of Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai on Saturday.

The event was held in partnership with the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF), Dubai Sports Council and Al Jalila Foundation. Proceeds from the race are donated to Al Jalila Foundation’s Majlis Al Amal, the UAE’s first cancer drop-in centre dedicated to the wellbeing of female cancer patients and survivors.

The event was inaugurated by Saeed Hareb, secretary-general of Dubai Sports Council.

The race witnessed the participation of hundreds of runners, including 12 teams, 19 international elite runners and 81 female runners. The runners hailed from 40 countries and ranged in age from 16 to 78. Participants from corporate entities across Dubai included Dubai Holding, Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts, Dubai Chamber and Al Tayer Motors.

New records

A new course record was set by both the fastest female and male elite runners who were crowned world champions in the first-ever ‘ISF Stairclimbing World Championships’.

In the female elite category, Yuri Yoshizumi of Japan, covered 52 floors in eight minutes 14 seconds, while the fastest elite male runner, Soh Wai Ching of Malaysia, finished in six minutes and 52 seconds.

Ching, World Stairclimbing Champion 2022, said: “I’m so happy to be in Dubai and claim the title of the first ever Stairclimbing World Champion today, with a new record time. My ambition is to come back for Dubai Fitness Challenge next year and climb the 30 tallest towers in the emirate over 30 days.”

The winning team, First Collection Team B, tackled the 1,334 steps in only 17 minutes and 14 seconds. The winners were presented with trophies and cash prizes from Dubai Holding.

Male Elite and Female Elite winners on the podium
Image Credit: Getty Images for Dubai Holding

The oldest participant – 78-year-old Giovanni Potenza from Italy – has completed the race four times consecutively, setting another record in the race’s history and breaking his own record – he had finished the course three times in 2019. On Saturday, Potenza completed his first lap in 13 minutes and 49 seconds, second lap in 15 minutes and 1 second, third in 15 minutes and 56 seconds, and his last lap in 15 minutes and 55 seconds – finishing four laps of the course in 60 minutes and 1 second.

Potenza said: “I really enjoyed the race today. In my mind, I was ready to climb the 52 floors of Jumeirah Emirates Towers four times in a row. What is most important in a challenge like this is your mental state – you have to tell yourself, ‘I can do this.’ I was ready to climb 208 flights because I have been training for 250. What really matters is what you eat, training every day and resting. You have to rest hard and rest well. Next year I will do even better.”

78-year-old Giovanni Potenza from Italy finished four laps of the course in 60 minutes and 1 second
Image Credit: Getty Images for Dubai Holding

World championships

Huda Buhumaid, Chief Impact Officer, Dubai Holding, said: “Today, we witnessed another successful edition of this long-standing race and as first-ever host to the ISF’s World Stairclimbing Championships. Great results were achieved by both male and female runners, and all participants across the race’s different categories, from every age group and background; they all showed remarkable sportsmanship and eagerness.”

Marino Giacometti, president of ISF, said: “It gives us great pleasure to celebrate the successful conclusion of our first ever Stairclimbing World Championships at the Dubai Holding SkyRun 2022. Many congratulations to Yuri and Soh, our two new world champions and all the participants who travelled from across the world to take part in this important event in the stair-climbing calendar. We would again like to thank Dubai Holding for hosting this race, and we look forward to the return of the event next year.”

The Dubai Holding SkyRun stands out among the world’s highest skyscraper races and the only official stairclimbing race in Dubai.

Making a difference

Lamya Gabr, Centre Manager at Al Jalila Foundation’s Majlis Al Amal, said: “To have the support of Dubai Holding and all of the SkyRunners is something very special for all of us. Majlis Al Amal is the first community centre of its kind providing a ‘home away from home’ for female cancer patients and survivors. Our mission is to redefine cancer care in the region, and all of our services are offered free of charge thanks to our dedicated volunteers and the generous support of organisations like Dubai Holding and those who took part today.”

Gabr added: “The funds raised by the Dubai Holding SkyRun will really make a difference to those women who depend on our community for support and inspiration as they navigate their cancer journey.”

Dubai Holding SkyRun 2022 was also supported by JClub, Fitbit, and Monviso, Italian natural mineral water.