If the typical student groans and complains when climbing three flights of stairs to class when the elevator breaks, imagine voluntarily racing up 94 flights with continual speed and determination.
On Sunday, thousands of participants will run through the stairwells of Chicago”s John Hancock Center to the 94th floor to raise money for the American Lung Association.
The fourth annual Hustle up the Hancock stair climb not only attracts ALA advocates but serious competitors. Computer science graduate student Daniel Reeves and Medical School graduate student Rachel Rose spent the last few months preparing for the race by climbing the tallest building in Ann Arbor, Tower Plaza Condominiums at 555 E. William, four times a night.
“It is an agonizing sport and it is kind of boring, but there is a coolness factor in telling people about it. Watching them have a shocked reaction is part of the fun,” said Reeves.
After missing first place by two minutes in last year”s race, Reeves is determined to improve his time from 12:57 to under 10 minutes. Presently, he can climb to the 26th floor of Tower Plaza in two minutes, and he believes that pace puts him in good standings for first place.
“I”m taking this pretty seriously, I have the goal to try to win it. It is my competitive nature that”s driving me to do it,” said Reeves.
The field of competition may favor Reeves and Rose. Race spokeswoman Amy Brierly said this year”s event will include twice as many non-competitors than competitors. Each participant is required to pay a registration fee in addition to a $20 pledge minimum. The earnings will aid the ALA, focusing on new approaches to educate children about asthma.
The ALA”s goal is to raise at least $100,000 in the event.
“One of the big reasons why they stage this highly visible event is to raise awareness about the ALA,” Brierly said.
She mentioned newly formed teams of business corporations, families walking together in memory of lost loved ones and uniformed firefighters. Some individuals are known for their competitiveness while others are remembered by generosity.
“There was a 67-year-old woman who raised more than $2,000 last year, and she is competing again this year,” Brierly said.
As a celebration of the runners” efforts, a party awaits the participants at the top.
“My whole family is coming up to Chicago for this it”s part of the appeal,” said Reeves.