Many sports lay claim to being one of the world's fastest growing sports, but one has much stronger claims than others to be the highest rising sport. Tower running has soared in popularity in recent years. The sport of racing up stairways of tall buildings is not entirely new; the Empire State Building Run Up has been taking place at the iconic New York skyscraper since 1978.
But in recent years the number of races of this type has increased significantly. So much so, that there are now nearly 300 annual events taking place globally. According to the unofficial voice of the sport towerrunning.com there are 282 events in 37 countries.
The sport even has its own World Cup series which was first launched in 2008 to provide international rankings for stair runners. Among the rankings are some fairly big names within sport. Twice World Mountain Running champion Melissa Moon of New Zealand is an avid tower runner and was the World Cup winner in 2010. She also won the Empire State race in February 2012, where she was chased home by Great Britain's four-time IronMan World Champion Chrissie Wellington. There is also a European Championship for the sport, the most recent taking place in Frankfurt, Germany on June 3.
In the UK, there are thirteen such annual events. The tallest event the UK has hosted has been at the Broadgate Tower; the 33 storey building in the City of London. But possibly even more popular as a venue for tower racing is St Mary's Axe, or, as it more commonly known, 'The Gherkin', host of two charity stair runs per year.
But it is not just restricted to London. Portsmouth, Manchester and Liverpool also host tower runs. It's a unique, quirky take on running and perfect for those who fear the confinement on elevators. To find out more about the sport, visit www.towerrunning.com