IF YOU are the kind of person who always takes the elevator rather than the stairs, you’d best keep away from the Gran Hotel Bali on Benidorm’s Poniente beach in a few Saturday’s time.
On Saturday May 13, at 5.00pm, a field of up to 400 runners will be taking part in the annual Subida Vertical, a timed race to the top of the 52-storey hotel, the tallest building on Europe’s Mediterranean coast.
The course is certainly not for the faint hearted or for anyone who gets out of breath going up the stairs to bed. Participants will race up the 52 floors, or more importantly, the 924 steps in the quickest possible time.
The vertical running phenomenon began in the 1970’s and perhaps the most famous landmark to hold an event is the Empire State Building in New York, which in February this year celebrated its 40 year anniversary.
The Gran Hotel Bali race, now in its 14th year, is a relative newcomer in comparison, but it has certainly grown in popularity since the inaugural event in 2003 and the field is limited to a maximum of 400 competitors, who set off in groups of four at a time.
Last year’s winner of the men’s event, Christian Reidl, from Germany, recorded the fastest time in the race’s history, taking an impressively quick 4 minutes 20 seconds to reach the top.
Meanwhile the record for the fastest time taken by a woman is held by Wafiya Benali, from Morocco, with a time of 5 minutes 44 seconds in 2010.
First prize for male and female winners is €300 euros, with the runners up and third place finishers receiving prize money of €200 and €100 respectively. All winners also receive a free night’s stay in hotel.
With a height of 210 metres (to the top of its antenna), the Gran Hotel Bali has become one of the most iconic buildings on the coast.
Visible from many miles around, on its completion in 2002, the Bali was officially the tallest building in Spain, a record it held for four years until surpassed by the Torre Espacio in Madrid four years later.
If you are feeling fit and ready to step up to the Bali Vertical challenge, the field is open to everyone. For full details, prices and how to enter, just visit the event’s website www.subidagranhotelbali.com