Marathon runner hopes to top Everest by taking the stairs

    Two-time Guinness World Record holder Chris Solarz is tackling what he calls the Urban Everest Challenge, using a Philadelphia skyscraper to challenge the record for vertical height climbed in 12 hours.

    Today Solarz, 32, will try to run up the stairwells of the former Bell Atlantic Building more than 48 times, a combined height equivalent to that of Mount Everest, the planet’s tallest mountain.

    “I’ve been training exclusively for this race for the past four months, usually doing two hours of horizontal running before work, and two hours of vertical running in the stairwell after work,” said Solarz.

    Solarz’s first marathon was in Philadelphia, at the age of 18. He was a freshman cross-country runner at Penn at the time. Since then, he has run races on every continent and in 49 states.

    “I’ve done almost 200 marathons and, not to say that it ever gets old, because every marathon is a new challenge and a new experience, but there are different ways to challenge yourself,” he said.

    His two previous Guinness records are for the fastest navigation of the New York subway system in 2010 and for the fastest marathon run as a linked team, which he ran just this month, tethered by the waist to four other team members.

    He called that run a “warm up” for today, which he hopes will mark his first solo world record.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal