Greenwich Time Article
Stair master: Greenwich woman set to compete in Empire State Building Run-Up
By Colin GustafsonStaff Writer
Posted: 02/01/2009 11:25:36 PM EST
(Helen Neafsey/Staff photo)
Emmy Stocker of Cos Cob will be competing in the 32nd annual New York Road Runners Empire State Building Run-Up. The race is up 86 floors from the ground floor to the Observatory Deck. Here she trains on the stairs at the YMCA.
To make it to the top, Cos Cob resident Emmy Stocker isn't afraid to throw a few friendly elbows.
She hopes that competitive streak serves her well when she races up a service stairwell of the Empire State Building against 300 competitive "stair climbers" Tuesday.
A freelance writer and mother of three, Stocker will compete in the 32nd annual New York Road Runners Empire State Building Run-Up in Manhattan.
The race pits hundreds of male and female road-running enthusiasts against each other as they bound -- and sometimes muscle -- their way up 1,576 steps to the building's 96th floor landing.
"There's a little pushing and shoving along the way," said Stocker, 50, who has competed in six previous run-ups, "but sometimes you have to be aggressive to get ahead of everybody."
To train for the event, Stocker says she hits the stair-climber at the Greenwich Family YMCA for a couple hours a few times a week, but usually gets a better workout by simply jogging across the town's hilly terrain.
"The best way to prepare is running hills," she said. "Luckily, all of Greenwich is hills."
This training regimen also helps her prepare for a variety of other endurance competitions throughout the year, from five-mile road races to 100-mile marathons (her favorite event) that span across hilly, wooded terrain and often take 24 hours to finish.
That's not to say the Empire State run-up isn't a challenge.
To get started during the race, Stocker says she usually tries to begin with a burst of speed, using her arms to pull her body up by the railings and sometimes taking two steps at a time. Once near the front of the pack, Stocker says she settles into a slower, steadier pace while climbing to the finish line at the Observatory Deck.
By the time you get to the 40th floor, "your lungs are killing you, your quads are killing you, and you think you can't go any higher," she said. "But you realize you can, and you do."
While the women's record for the run-up is 11 minutes, 23 seconds, Stocker says she usually clocks in around 15 minutes.
Still, the event is more about camaraderie than competition, said Stocker, who said she enjoys seeing office workers gathering in the stairwell doorway, some with perplexed looks on their face, others cheering her to the top.
"It's not really about winning, but just challenging yourself with friends," she said.
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