By Sports Reporter/Doha
England’s Andi Jones won the Aspire Torch Staircase Run for the second year in succession, storming up the 1,304 steps of the hotel in a time of seven minutes and 12 seconds in the Open category for men yesterday.
Jones, who has excelled in road, cross country and mountain running all over the world, comfortably beat Qatar’s Mohamed al-Obaidly, who clocked eight minutes and 49 seconds. Hillary Rotich was third in a time of nine minutes and five seconds.
Jones praised the race and expressed his enthusiasm at being able to participate in such an innovative event, saying: “I’m very proud of my achievement and for earning first place once more. My participation in this competition stems from my constant need to challenge myself and surpass my previous results. I prepared really well for this and it paid off in the end. I’m really happy.”
Around 300 athletes took part in the event which was held in partnership with the iconic Torch Doha Hotel at Aspire Zone. The runners were divided into four categories: Juniors (16-17 years old), Open category (18-39 years old) and Veterans (40 and older), along with a category dedicated to hotel waiters and waitresses who wished to take part.
This year’s competition was the ultimate challenge of endurance, as runners climbed more than 1,300 steps to the 51st floor of the 300m tower, racing to be named Qatar’s fastest stair climbers and win cash prizes.
Katerina Matousova was awarded first place in the open female category (18-39) with a time of 10 minutes 42 seconds, while Lily Saad and Gretta Beckett finished second and third respectively.
Andrew Buckley earned first place in the male veteran category with a time of 9 minutes 31 seconds, while Carmel Lord earned first place in the female category with a time of 12 minutes 59 seconds.
In the male junior category, Oliver Guest earned first place with an impressive time of 9 minutes 31 seconds. Hallie Harris earned first place in the female junior category with a time of 11 mins 46 seconds.
In the Waiter/Waitress Challenge, Khagendra Bharati came in first place with 11 minutes 9 seconds.
Several officials from Aspire Zone Foundation and the Torch Doha Hotel were present to witness the closing ceremony and present prizes to the winners. Among them were Nasser Abdullah al-Hajri, Director of PR and Communications at AZF, Abdullah al-Khater, Events Manager at AZF, Sherif Sabry, General Manager of the Torch Doha Hotel, and Gerhard Foltin, Consultant for the Torch Doha Hotel.
Commenting on the successful conclusion of the race, Abdullah al-Khater said: “This competition required high levels of endurance and we’re very proud of the contestants. I’m delighted to see so many community members, locals and expats, participate in an event that so effectively reflects our mission to promote active and healthy lifestyles in Qatar. Thanks to this popularity, the Torch Staircase Run has become an important part of the year-round schedule of events that Aspire Zone Foundation organises.”
In 2015, the Run was awarded official Grand Prix status as one of the top international tower running competitions, on par with the Empire State Building Run-Up in New York, USA, and Berlin Sky Tower in Germany.
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