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Mark Sims - A Tower of Strength!

Tuesday, 11 April, 2017 -- Mark Stickings

OE Mark Sims (1993) runs up towers.  For fun.  Like the Eiffel Tower, or the Empire State Building.  He’s very good at it too – he’s been the UK Champion for the past two years and regularly wins races in London and other places in England.  Your roving reporter Mark Stickings hadn’t met him since 1990 at school when he was 14; now here he was 27 years later in Paris.

Mark studied Geology at Royal Holloway, worked for a short time on oil rigs, then got married, moved to Liverpool and found a job with a finance company.  He had always been an athlete – a runner and a jumper at school, cross-country at university, but his introduction to tower running came in 1999 when his firm took part in a race up the Royal Liver Building.  Mark discovered over the next few years that he was better than the rest at that and, more important, really enjoyed it.  In the UK there weren’t many events at the time so he looked further afield and in 2003 ran up the Empire State, finishing in a very creditable eighth place.  Since then he has raced in Abu Dhabi, Vienna, Bratislava and many other places as well as in Britain.  Where there’s a tower there’s a race.

What’s the best age for a tower runner?  In the select field at the Eiffel Tower in March one of the competitors was 23, another 50.  Mark is 41 and has many more stairs ahead of him.  And when he does call it a day, sons Isaac (17) and Jude (15) or even Esme (8) could carry on the good work – they are already showing promise.

In Paris Mark came 22nd out of 86.  He ran up the Eiffel Tower in 10 minutes 6 seconds.  That’s 1665 steps, plus the flat sections, in 606 seconds.  The levels of fitness required for this event leave your reporter amazed.  Great to see an OE “at the top”.

Mark is pictured above, crossing the finish line at the top of the Eiffel Tower. 

Mark and roving reporter Mark Stickings are pictured before the race at the base of the Eiffel Tower.