The trendy word "epic" gets bandied around a lot in conversations these days, but in the case of the 24-hour stair climb performed by teammates Kacie Fischer, Mark Trahanovsky, Kristin Frey and PJ Glassey, there couldn't be a more descriptive and perfect word to describe the event. These four world-ranked stair climbers tackled one of the most grueling mental and physical challenges.
More: Intro to Stair Climbing
It was Fischer who worked with the American Lung Association race director in Jacksonville Florida to promote the February 2, 2013 stair climb up the Bank of America building. "I had coffee with the director in November and asked how I could help promote the race. We came up with the crazy idea—to draw attention to the race—of doing the 24-hour climb a month before the race. I knew I'd have to pull a team of some of the toughest athletes together and that's when I contacted the rest of the "Fab Four" to do the Epic climb."
"Kacie could have asked a better endurance athlete than me, but the reason she asked Mark, Kristin and me was because of our personalities and friendship. A team of better climbers would have had a hard time beating our record if they didn't mesh really well like we did," says Glassey.
Trahanovsky describes, "It was a relay style event so there was only one person going up the stairs at any time. We were only interested in setting a climbing record so we took the elevator down. The building is 42-floors. We started on the ninth floor and went up the steps to the 42nd floor. Without floor 13, each time we climbed it was 32 floors."
These endurance athletes had goals as well. They didn't just climb, they raced every single time they entered the stairwell. Fischer says, "Our goal, which we went way beyond, was to climb more than 100,000 steps, hit more than 5,000 floors and ascend more than 76,000 vertical feet." They crushed those goals.
They didn't know what to expect with a climb of this magnitude. "I think that climbing for 24 hours is mentally more challenging than physically. You have to be able to push yourself when you want to give up. I think having friends and family there to encourage you is incredibly uplifting. I felt that if I was discouraged during a rest period I actually felt better when I got back in the stairwell," states Frey.