A Different Kind of Pre-Season Training

by Kate McKenzie-McHarg on November 14, 2014

After Alice McNamara ran the Eureka tower for charity in 2010, the World Champion rower thought she’d never run up 88 flights of stairs again. But the next day she discovered she’d won an all-expenses-paid invitation to the Empire State Building Run-Up in New York.

McNamara had recorded the fastest time of all the elite female climbers to take out the prize. Four years on, the 28-year old rower has finished first in three consecutive Eureka Climbs, and raced up skyscrapers all over the world.

Alice said stair climbing has become a great hobby to help her stay mentally fresh while rowing 50 weeks a year. “Sometimes when I’m feeling a bit tired I look up at the Eureka tower and think I’ve done that - I know I can do my session today,” McNamara said.

Stair Climbing is a sport regulated by two bodies - the Vertical World Circuit and the Tower Running World Association.The competitions allow professional-stair climbers and athletes from across the globe to race up the world’s tallest buildings. Most recently Alice finished second in the Vertical World Circuit’s Taipei 101 climb, in Taiwan this May on the back the 2014 Australian Rowing team selection trials.

McNamara said stair climbing is a great way to travel, and see the world’s most iconic buildings. “I always try to squeeze in a few days overseas to do a climb, it helps me come back revitalised.” Alice warrants her stair climbing success to the physical and mental endurance she’s developed over years of rowing training. She’s won climbs up the Empire State Building, KL Tower and the Willis Tower in Chicago, but the 28-year old said climbing New York’s tallest building has been her toughest challenge to date.“There was a mass start in the foyer, we all went off together and for the first third of the building it was just intense,” McNamara said.

Alice has been a reserve for the past two Olympic cycles and is training for the Rio 2016 Games to compete in the lightweight double scull. But the nine-time Rowing Australia team member said adding stair climbing into your daily regime could benefit anyone’s fitness. “What’s been interesting about stair-climbing is that everyone knows that running up stairs is hard work so it’s really relatable,” McNamara said.

Alice is set to scale the Eureka Tower for the fourth time this Sunday November 16.

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