Participants Compete in Grueling The Torch Doha Staircase …

Doha, Qatar (February 16, 2013) - Hundreds of spectators gathered on Saturday to watch eager participants conquer The Torch Doha Hotel in Aspire Zone Foundation's (AZF) second annual Staircase Run. Competitors raced up 1,304 stairs to the 51st floor in an attempt to beat staircase runner extraordinaire Thomas Dold and claim the highly coveted first place position.

The 240 competitors were comprised of local and international runners including the Minister of Justice, HE Hasan Bin Abdullah Al-Ghanem. The Minister praised the event: "I really enjoyed taking part in the race, it's an excellent sport. I advise employees to start taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator."

Thomas Dold is world leader in the sport of professional tower running and won his seventh consecutive race to the top of the Empire State Building in New York last year. Dold was the first runner to set off on Saturday, setting an incredible time of 6:31 for the competitors to beat.

"It's an unbelievable feeling, reaching the top," Dold stated at the end of the race.

"Aspire Zone and the The Torch Doha Hotel did a wonderful job. I think today we have seen a really good competition, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they do next year. This run has the potential to become world-class," he added.

The winner of the men's race was Jiri Vysteijn with a time of 7:48, while Elizabeth Cothran Isom was the fastest in the women's category with a time of 9:25.

Jiri Vysteijn, an expatriate from the Czech Republic, stated "This is not my first staircase run, I participated in the inaugural event in 2012, so I knew what to expect this year. I love taking part in races in the morning, what a great way to start off your day."

In addition, Chris Arthey, a British amputee, took part in the event. Arthey and his wife were in a car accident in 2008, which resulted in both losing their left legs.

Families, friends, and members of the public spurred on the racers as they completed the exhausting climb. A variety of entertainment was on offer catering to the whole community, including a bouncy castle, face painting stalls, and a balloon artist.

Final Results
Men's Category

1 - Jiri Vysteijn, 7:48

2 - Richard Kimani, 8:27

3 - Ben Simpson, 8:39

Women's Category

1 - Elizabeth Cothran Isom, 9:25

2 - Arnlaug Wangensteen, 9:29

3 - Raimey Adelle Olthius, 10:35

Professional's Category

1 - Thomas Dold, 6:31

2 - Omar Bekkali, 6:52

3 - Rolf Majcen, 7:12

The winners were awarded with a selection of fantastic prizes including a variety of vouchers for the The Torch Doha Hotel.

The staircase run came four days after Qatar's second National Sports Day and the 'Light the Torch' challenge. Over 50 Aspire Active members took turns cycling 30 stationary bicycles placed outside the The Torch Doha Hotel in an attempt to "pedal power" enough energy to power the outdoor lighting system of the hotel.

It took approximately 30 minutes for the entire facade to be fully lit.

Over 2,000 spectators gathered, whistling, clapping and cheering on the on the cyclists, including Steve Goodburn: "This event is the first of its kind in Qatar. It's a great example of what we can achieve if we work together. Plus, it's fun and good for the environment. This was truly a great initiative from Aspire Zone."

The Torch Doha Staircase Run and 'Light the Torch' events are a testament to Aspire Zone Foundation's ongoing dedication to fostering a healthier nation and promoting active lifestyles to the community.