Climb to the Top of Milwaukee For a Great Cause

Mar. 13, 2017
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This Saturday, March 18, the tallest building in Wisconsin will serve as a vertical race track so that a few thousand area residents can have a good time getting high and raising money for a great cause. It’s the 8th annual Milwaukee Fight for Air Climb, a 47-floor, 1,034-stair race to the top floor of U.S. Bank Center, 777 E. Wisconsin Ave. The race is one of a national series of skyscraper climbs that raise money for the American Lung Association.

The climb is open to all, from serious athletes to those just off the couch. Using the “stair mile” conversion, the race is about 1/3 of a forward mile. According to the Fight for Air website, the average climber’s time is 13:29. The top finishers in the Fight for Air will reach the top in less than six minutes. The fastest time ever recorded in the tower, during an unimpeded climb, was a 4:50 mark by Springfield, Ill.’s Justin Stewart – who is one of only two people to ever record a sub-five minute time in the building. Even more impressive than that is the 6:54 mark recorded by last year by West Allis firefighter and paramedic Zeke Dombrowski. Dombrowski made the climb while dressed in full gear – 70 lbs. worth – and is the two-time defending champion of the full gear climb at Fight for Air. A few hundred firefighters are expected to participate in the climb this weekend.

For those who might not quite be at the world-class level, the program also offers a half-climb and a “virtual climb” for those who simply wish to volunteer. The bulk of the day’s participants will be of the more casual set – many even race in costume – who play along for the novelty and to help out a good cause. One of the perks of climbing is the rare access to the top floor of the tower, which has been the tallest in the state since 1973 and offers unmatched views of the city and lake.

If you want to make the climb, you can register online now or the day of the competition. The registration fee is $25 in advance and $45 the day of. All climbers are required to have raised at least $100. More information is available online.  

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