Monday, May 11, 2015

Heroes Memorial Climb

I raced in the inaugural Heroes Memorial Climb, twice up the Reunion Tower in Dallas, benefitting first responders. I wound up finishing third in the competitive wave. According to my watch my climb times were about 6:11 and 6:52, but my official combined time came out to 13:12. I had maybe five minutes of recovery between climbs, waiting for the elevator back down. After the second climb I went outside for the opening ceremony, afterward following the firefighters and police back into the building. The event organizer had said we could climb as many times as we wanted, so I followed everybody else right into the stairs. My third climb was about 7:20, and I went right back up after coming down the elevator for a time of 7:22 by my watch. I took a longer break after the fourth to take some pictures at the top. I went most of the way up the fifth time with my friend Robert, who was doing his ninth climb. Five was my limit, with a final time of 7:55.
The stairs were quite confusing to me the first time up. Most of the way it's a pretty standard flight, landing, 180-degree turn, next flight. However there's a second stairwell entwined going the opposite direction. With the poor lighting and open-backed metal stairs my mind was confused. Also, since it's a tower with no occupied space until the "pod" level, there aren't regular indicators of progress. There is an occasional spray-painted "20" or "45" to indicate the level, but they're easy to miss. Eventually you get close to the pod and the top treads have been painted. The stairs change in the pod to a triangular formation, brightly lit, clean, and much nicer materials than the rest of the stairs.
The event in general was a good one. It was cool to see so many first responders climbing in their gear, and to be able to climb with them (later climbs, they weren't in there during the competitive wave). The stairs are super wide so there was plenty of room for everybody. I have no idea how good of a fundraiser it was, there weren't a ton of people, at least not that I saw. Probably fewer than 200 people did the event, maybe 40 of those were first responders. There are things they could improve, but it went pretty smoothly for a first-time event.

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