Runner sprints up Empire State Building to become second fastest person EVER

Piotr Łobodziński is second fastest person to run up New York’s 86-floor Empire State Building. JUSTIN LANE/PAP/EPA

A Polish tower runner has become the second fastest man in history to run up the Empire State building.

Piotr Łobodziński came in first and achieved a personal best after sprinting up the 1,576 stairs in 10 minutes and 5 seconds. 

His previous time two years ago was 10 minutes, 31 seconds.

Leader of the pack Łobodziński came in first and achieved a personal best after sprinting up the 1,576 stairs in 10 minutes and 5 seconds. JUSTIN LANE/PAP/EPA

Despite his victory, however, the 31-year-old from Podlasie was not entirely happy. 

He wrote on Facebook after the race: “So am I happy? The answer is not really. My goal in the race was to run under 10 minutes and I did not do it. I know I can, and I could do it yesterday. Why didn't I do it? Because it is not easy to give 100% for each race.”

The Polish runner wasn’t only trying to break the 10 minutes barrier. He was also hoping to come close to the 9.33 record set by Australian Paul Cracke in 2003.

The Empire State Building Run-Up challenges runners from around the globe to race up its famed 86 flights—1,576 stairs.Sam Valadi

He added: “It’s hard to do it when rivals don’t press from behind and you can’t control the pace and time. It’s a race in the dark in this respect, such as is the characteristic of stairs runs. You depend on your feelings, which isn’t an easy thing. 

“You have to start not too fast and not too slow, run at an even pace according to your own capability.

“This is how I know I didn’t give my maximum yesterday. Simply, I was still standing on the finish line.”

Łobodziński had been hoping to beat the 9.33 record set by Australian Paul Cracke in 2003.Rico Shen

Describing his tactics for the race he wrote: “The start is a very important but also stressful element during the Empire State Building Run Up. This is a mass event and the distance to the narrow staircase doors is only 10 meters. 

“There’s a lot of nerves. Maximum sprint and holding your elbows wide. 

“Whoever comes first has the advantage, space and freedom of mind. There are no soft plays and no one is going to let others pass him.

“This year I started perfectly and could mentally breath easily on the first floors, since I’d completed one of my pre-race plans. 

Triumphant Łobodziński posted on Facebook after the race: This year I started perfectly and could mentally breath easily.Piotr Nowak/PAP

“Two years ago I reached the stairs third and had to overtake people.”  

Born in 1988 in Podlasie, Łobodziński moved to Warsaw for his studies and still lives and trains there. After a stint with various sports, such as swimming, cycling, kayaking, he started his professional career in mountain and cross-country running in 2011. 

Now he specializes in tower running, having won the World Championship twice (Doha 2015 and Taipei 2018), World Cup five times and the Vertical World Circuit four times.