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2010 IHRSA Everest Climb. 29,030 Vertical Feet on a Freemotion Treadmill.

From sea level to the summit without leaving the trade show floor.  See how it was done, and see the winners cross the “finish line!”

As a runner, Freemotion Fitness’ Everest challenge really caught my eye.  I’ve been within 20 miles of Everest, as the crow flies, while trekking in the Himalayan foothills.  I’ve competed in the Empire State Building Run Up—the ultimate vertical challenge.  So, I was intrigued by Freemotion’s spin on vertical running.  Here are a few facts from the run, collected by observation and chatting with some of the participants.

  • Three teams of five took the challenge.  The “gunners” appeared to be a group of marathon-studs from Utah.
  • The rules stated that the treadmills had to be set at 18% grade or more, and there was no holding on.  Beyond those rules, the speed and grade was up to each participant.
  • The event was a relay.  The length/time of each relay leg was up to the participants.  Handoffs were accomplished by one runner hopping off and the next runner hopping on.
  • The event was expected to take about six hours.  In reality, the winners reached the summit in about 5 ½ hours.  Here are some unofficial stats. that I’ve calculated from the winners’ effort
    • The team averaged almost 5,300 feet of vertical climbing per hour.
    • That calculates out to almost 90 feet per minute, or the vertical equivalent of climbing a 9-story building every minute.
    • It appeared that the winners kept the grade at 30% the entire time.
    • The average horizontal speed for the effort was about 4.5 mph.  Therefore, the winning team covered about 22.5 horizontal miles on the way to the “summit” of Everest.

Check out the video I took at the event.  You’ll see the different race strategies utilized by the teams.  You’ll also see the winners cross the finish line.

How did the competitors feel immediately after, and in the several days after, the event?  I guess you’d have to ask them.  The winners seemed to be no worse for the wear—winning can do that to you.  As for the succeeding days, I would guess that the runners were leg-tired but not very sore.

From all my years of stair climbing and hill running for training and competition, I never experienced soreness from going UP hard but going down easy.  Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is generally accepted to be caused by eccentric, or lengthening, contractions.  Going up is generally a concentric, or shortening, contraction.  Therefore, my assumption is that the runners walked away from the event a bit leg weary, but no “sorer” for the effort.

Congratulations to Freemotion for sponsoring a fun event.  Let’s see if they can top it next year.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • cna training April 3, 2010, 9:16 pm

    nice post. thanks.

  • Seth February 4, 2011, 3:41 pm

    I organized and ran on the winning team. Your guess was right, DOMS didn’t really set in. I actually competed in the 20 min incline challenge the next day. 20 min at any speed with at least 18% incline. I kept the incline at 30% and went as fast as I could. I climbed just over 1900 feet. It was a great competition. Those incline treadmills really help me throw in great cardio intense workouts without having to deal with DOMS. I hope to see you this year for the 100k competition at the Freemotion booth at IHRSA.

    Seth

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