The iconic Parisian monument, the Eiffel Tower, became a race track once again 17 March, during its annual competition known as La Verticale. A total of 91 professional and amateur competitors from around the world, all skilled in climbing, took on the challenge, including amputee marathon runner Guy Amalfitano.
Men and women alike scaled the 1,665 steps of the monument and were greeted with applause upon crossing the finish line. The female winner of the competition this year and reigning champion, 41-year-old Suzy Walsham, came all the way from Australia, only to be mildly let down by her performance. She completed the challenge in nine minutes and 44 seconds
"I really thought I would go faster because there were areas where I did not go so well last year but maybe I had those same areas this year, so I'm a little bit disappointed but it was close," Walsham said after the race.
Male winner and defending champion, Piotr Lobodzinski of Poland, was more enthusiastic about his win, perhaps due to his record-breaking time, improving upon his own record from last year.
"I'm feeling great, I improved the course record by two seconds so now it's 7.48. I defended first place. I'm really happy. I hope to come next near and also beat for the podium, even to win," he said.
As part of the World Federation of Great Towers, the Verticale is not the only competition of its kind, with similar sporting events hosted by monuments including the Empire State Building in New York.