Have you ever tried tower running? No? Me neither, until today.
I along with hundreds of other fundraisers ran up 1,037 steps inside one of London's most iconic buildings, the Swiss Re Tower, affectionately known as the Gherkin, to raise money for the NSPCC.
I was really looking forward to the event as I'd never been inside the Gherkin before. It's only open to the public occasionally and when it is, the queues are seriously long. Naturally I thought that running up 38 floors for charity was the best way to experience this famous masterpiece from the inside, and I wasn't wrong.
The only race preparation I did was listen to Miley Cyrus's single, It's The Climb, Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Diana Ross and Step On by Happy Mondays. That playlist was I needed at the start line and with a smile on my face, up I went.
Although going up 180 vertical metres was a lot tougher than I imagined (the last few hundred steps were leg-sappingly uncomfortable and spiralling up 38 floors made me feel extremely dizzy) I enjoyed the elation that I felt when I reached the top to rapturous applause, a glass of champagne, Panoramic views of London and of course, the knowledge that it was all for a good cause.
Soon my stiff legs were being massaged and I got chatting to others. Through conversation I found out there's actually a vertical world circuit, with runners racing up skyscrapers including the Empire State Building in New York, The Sydney Tower in Australia and the 2,046 steps of Taipei 101 in Taiwan. Having just accomplished my very first vertical race, I felt inspired to add some of those global races to my bucket list...just not before I had taken the lift back downstairs.
The run was over surprisingly quick for me (8 minutes 12 seconds to be precise) but it wasn't about fastest times, with finishers reaching the summit in anywhere between 6 and 45 minutes and I am now proud to call myself a Gherkinneer! With a jar of pickled gherkins to prove it!