Race #37 – Running Stairs for the American Lung Association

Stair Climb!

Race #37: The (Virtual) Fight for Air Stair Climb

The Cause: The American Lung Association

This was one of the most unique races I had originally planned into my schedule of 50 races!

The Fight for Air Stair Climb takes place in skyscrapers across the country through the spring. I had signed up for the New York City race, featuring 44 floors and 850 steps. I was so excited to take on this challenge (and build my quads up a bit, with training)! Plus, I was combining this race with a “girls’ weekend” in NYC with the same group of wonderful girlfriends from Race #4, along with a visit with my oldest daughter who lives nearby. Oh we had the entire weekend mapped out with fun plans, sightseeings, shows, restaurants, and the stair climb. That all changed.

I began training by running the stairs in my dear friend Ali’s Harrisburg apartment building, logging 30-40-50 floors at a clip, several times. It was definitely challenging! I carefully placed these “runs” into my schedule in between winter races, so that my legs had time to recover before race days.

But of course, the plans changed due to COVID-19–especially given how dire the situation was in NYC for so long. Our weekend getaway is rescheduled. And the stair climb turned into a virtual event in which we were encouraged to log our miles from mid-May through June 30. Weekly prizes were given for those who logged the most miles that week. Although I did not win any of those prizes, I was super suprised to place in the final “top 10” in terms of mileage (160), earning my favorite number, 9th place overall:

As I trained, several generous friends made donations to the American Lung Assocation on my behalf, and I was thrilled to raise $125 beyond my race fees, for the cause. In all, the virtual event raised nearly $94,000. This is especially meaningful because I have several family members who have asthma.

During May/June, my college-aged daughter was hunkered down at home with us, wrapping up her semester online. I was so thrilled to have her join me on nearly every run–including plenty of “hill repeats.” And we were (somewhat) able to simulate my actual stair climb by finding a tower–which I climbed 8 times in a row to equal 850+ steps. As they say, “Every step counts.” And I have less than 15 races to go… it’s starting to sink in, that I’ll actually be able to realize my goal.


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