Brian Kuritzky took in the view for only a few seconds after racing up midtown Manhattan’s tallest building. The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS:US) associate then returned to the lobby to run the 1,576 steps a second time.
Kuritzky raised $20,000 last night for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation by twice climbing the 1,050 feet (320 meters) from lobby to observation deck at the 36th annual Empire State Building Run-Up. It’s the second consecutive year Kuritzky was one of the event’s highest fundraisers after collecting $85,000 in donations in 2012.
“Fundraising gets harder and harder, and to try and keep it consistent you have to do something different and more creative,” Kuritzky, 26, said in an interview between trips. “Running twice is a way to get more people talking and garner a little more interest.”
The race, which began with 14 finishers in 1978, had 738 entrants ranging in age from 21 to 70 and representing 18 countries including Japan, Israel and Papua New Guinea. Organized by the New York Road Runners, the event raised about $600,000 for MMRF and other charities.
Mark Bourne won the men’s invitational with a time of 10 minutes, 12 seconds. Suzy Walsham won the elite women’s heat, her fourth title, in 12:05. Both winners are from Australia.
Kuritzky, whose mother died of breast cancer when he was 15, has run the New York City Marathon and a 140.6-mile (226- kilometer) Ironman-distance triathlon to raise money for cancer research, and last year competed in the RBC Decathlon, where he was the top fundraiser with more than $90,000 in pledges. He called last night’s double run the most intense race he’s done.
After completing his first trip, he lay down for 10 minutes. After about an hour, he returned to the starting line for a second time.
“My lower back hurts and my lungs feel like they are popping out of my chest,” he said after finishing the second run.
Kuritzky, who played soccer for Cornell University in 2005- 07, said his original goal of running twice in a total of 28 minutes was determined after friends and colleagues thought his initial estimate of a half hour was too generous. He ran the first heat in 13:19, and the MMRF said that while it did not have his exact time on the second run, he did come in under his goal.
The event was invitation-only prior to 2011, when MMRF became the title sponsor and benefiting charity thanks in part to a $50,000 donation from SAC Capital Advisors LP portfolio manager Nick Tiller. The roughly 125 runners in the MMRF group last night raised about $500,000, according to the foundation, bringing their three-year total to $1.4 million.
The MMRF’s top fundraising team was PricewaterhouseCoopers, at $23,500, according to the foundation. The highest individual fundraisers were Mary Weidner and Bill West at $45,700, followed by Touche Howard, who raised $30,000 by running the course while wearing 50 pounds of firefighting gear.
Bourne, a 29-year-old ecologist for the Australian government in Canberra, said he typically races mountain running and cross-country events. He said he took the lead around the 60th floor and took in the nighttime Manhattan skyline before crossing the finish line.
“It was a great feeling, knowing I was in the lead by a comfortable margin and could look out over the edge and enjoy the view for a second,” he said in an interview.
Walsham, 39, who won the event from 2007-09 and placed second last year, said each year she learns that limits can be pushed a little bit further. Runners pull themselves up along the handrails to spread the work between their arms and legs.
“Normally I’m sitting on the ground thinking, ’What am I doing this for?”’ she said after the race. “This is the best I’ve felt in years.”
The course record of 9:33 was set by Paul Crake of Australia in 2003, according to the NYRR, which also organizes the New York City Marathon. The women’s record of 11:23 was set in 2006 by Andrea Mayr of Austria.
Kuritzky won the MMRF group in 2011, and last year raced in the invitational heat, where Goldman Sachs (GS:US) colleagues and friends pledged $10,000 for every elite runner he passed. He said last night that he had no idea what he might do in 2014.
“It’s an ongoing battle to figure out what’s next without crossing over into that area of pure insanity,” he said. “I’m taking suggestions.”
Would he considering running three times in one night?
“Absolutely not,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Eben Novy-Williams in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org
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