Dragon Duncan Bannatyne’s tower running challenge

Dragon’s Den judge and entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne faces a challenge fiercer than his business judgement this month.

The 60-year old businessman is one of a growing number of athletes tacking a new challenge, set to take the fitness and athletics world by storm in major cities. Tower running, where runners tackle getting to the top floor of towers and skyscrapers the hard way by running up the stairs, is a growing new trend for fitness fanatics around the world.

Like a vertical marathon, training is hard and requires dedication and determination. The rewards are immense however, physical stamina and fitness will be improved greatly, and the view from the top floor of some of the world’s most famous skyscrapers without using the lift is even more incredible. The sport has seen people running up the Empire State building in New York, the Taipei 101 Tower in Taiwan and the Sydney Tower, Australia.

Duncan Bannatyne first took part in the sport last year to raise money for Shelter. He joined 600 other ‘sky-runners’ in the race to the top of London’s Tower 42 skyscraper. This year he will be doing the same again, and the popularity of the race has  doubled.

“I’d never run up 42 flights before and didn’t think I could do it last time,”

I started off at the run, but after what I thought were three or four floors I realised I was still only on the first floor. After four floors I couldn’t run any more, I had to slow down,” says Bannatyne about the race last year.

The incredible feeling of finally reaching top after such a physically hard challenge was so elating, he couldn’t resist doing it again this year for Shelter. He wants to take the sport further in other buildings in London and around the world.

Duncan Bannatyne’s company Bannatyne Gyms are sponsoring the event, called Vertical Rush and providing video training for all the runners taking part in the race. Those who reach the top are rewarded with a champagne bar reception and amazing views of the capital. It takes part on 25 February and will be a fiercely competition on race to the top of one of London’s most iconic commercial buildings. To find out more about Vertical Rush take a look at Shelter’s website.

Obviously there probably isn’t time to get trained up for this year’s race, but why not take a leaf from Duncan Bannatyne and the other runners books? Use the stairs in your office instead of a lift and help get fit. Walking up stairs burns 50% more calories than walking flat, and you’ll be saving electricity and energy in your office building by not operating lifts as much.

Stairs in your office space are free to use, unlike buying gimmicky exercise machines and expensive gym memberships. London’s office workers are often too busy to exercise, but you don’t have to work in a skyscraper to run up a few flights of stairs and get fit! And the more physically fit you are, the more mentally sharp you become, keeping your business mind in top form.