World champions contest Vietnam's first vertical run

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Reigning male and female vertical running world champions Thomas Dold (R) of Germany and Melissa Moon of New Zealand will come to Vietnam for the first time for the 2011 Vertical World Circuit.

The first vertical run in Vietnam will be held at Ho Chi Minh City's tallest building on Sunday, with world champions present to defend their titles.

More than 500 participants have registered to conquer the highest skyscraper in the city, the Bitexco Financial Tower, recently named one of the world's top 20 iconic skyscrapers by CNNGo.

The race will begin in the morning with ten to 15 people running at a time.

Participants will climb up a total of 1,002 steps to the 49th floor of the 68-story tower, where an observation desk will offer them spectacular views of the city and the Saigon River from a height of 178 meters.

The inaugural event will feature a mix of locals and foreigners from 24 countries around the world, including the UK and Canada.

Among the elite athletes are reigning male and female vertical running world champions Thomas Dold of Germany and Melissa Moon of New Zealand. Both are coming to Vietnam for the first time.

Dold has won 27 straight stair races, including six times at the Empire State Building Run-Up, while Moon is a two time world mountain running champion who won the famed race in New York City last year on her first try.

Brad Gee, property director of the Bitexco Financial Tower, said the vertical run is a special occasion that marks one year of the building's completion and inauguration last October.

Vietnam's first vertical run has been selected as a trial race for the 2011 Vertical World Circuit, where the top runners will be vying for a total cash prize of US$5,000. The 1st prize male and female winners each will receive $1,500 and gain crucial points to be declared the world champion at the end of the year.

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