Climbing over 1,400 stairs as fast as possible was the goal for some 250 firefighters who participated in a tower running race in Mexico City’s second highest skyscraper on Saturday.
Weighed down with protective gear and equipment weighing 25 kilograms, firefighters from the capital, several states and even the United States participated in the carrera vertical, or vertical race, held at Torre Reforma, a 246-meter-high skyscraper on Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City’s most emblematic boulevard.
To complete the course, firefighters had to ascend 53 floors by climbing an exhausting total of 1,421 stairs.
Some impressive times were recorded but no one was able to break the existing record of 11 minutes, the newspaper El Universal reported.
The women’s champion for a second consecutive year was Citlalli Ramírez, who finished in 18 minutes and 42 seconds. “In an emergency, our real work starts after going up the 53 floors, that’s when the hard part starts,” she said.
The men’s champion was Agustín Herrera, who completed the course in 13 minutes and five seconds, meaning that he climbed an average of 1.8 stairs per second.
Another competitor was Diego Méndez, the sole participant from México state. After completing the ascent in 15 minutes, he told El Universal he didn’t feel tired as he had been training for months.
“In the course of the race I felt good, calm,” Méndez said. “… It was a very good race.”
Édgar Ramírez, who crossed the finish line in 18 minutes, described the race as an “unforgettable experience” that really got his adrenaline pumping.
“You want to give everything,” he said, adding that his training included running and doing weights.
Juan Manuel Pérez, director of the Heroico Cuerpo de Bomberos, as the Mexico City fire department is called, described firefighters as high-performance athletes who are accustomed to going up stairs at a rapid pace. “The everyday life of a firefighter is to climb,” he said.