The Big Climb

In its 24th year, The Big Climb is a charity fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Teams and individuals compete—at staggered start times—not only to climb the 1,311 stairs up Columbia Center but also to raise the most money for LLS. Northwest firefighters made the same 788-foot ascent two weekends back—wearing 50 pounds of gear!—for the same cause. The winner took just under 11 minutes. Today is the chance for stripped-down endurance athletes to test their legs of steel against the clock. Last year, a 19-year-old Canadian guy came close to breaking seven minutes for the race, which twists up 69 flights to the tower’s observation deck. (Just keep turning left until you’re done.) To put that in perspective, for the average Green Lake plodder or Mt. Si trail runner, the climb is a short, leg-burning sprint with the aerobic punch of a 3,000-meter race. Meaning the lactic-acid burn in your quads will gradually overtake your lungs until you start slowing down like Sisyphus (minus the rock). And when it’s over, you’ll never complain about Stairmaster ever again. (Info: 628-0777 and T. BOND

Sun., March 21, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., 2010

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