PELHAM, N.Y.—Pelham resident Patrick Coughlin was one of only 75 runners selected via lottery to participate in the coveted 2016 Empire State Building Run-Up Presented by Marmot on Wednesday, Feb. 3.
The race up the Empire State Building’s 86 flights and 1,576 stairs marks the pinnacle event of global tower running and is on the bucket list of the thousands of runners who enter the invitational lottery for the chance to participate each year.
“I’ve heard it’s pretty much impossible to get the lottery,” said Coughlin, who runs “everything from 5K’s to half marathons.”
Now in its 39th year, the race is frequented by celebrities, with the likes of Kelly Ripa and Natalie Morales completing the climb in recent years.
“It’s kind of a strange type of race,” said Coughlin, noting the high level of publicity. “It’s like the Boston Marathon or the New York Marathon. There’s a nostalgia about it.”
Coughlin, 30, lives with his wife and child in Pelham and usually runs 3 to 5 miles several days a week, but Coughlin says this race poses a unique challenge.
“I’m used to running distances on the road, but this is a quarter mile going vertical so it’s a little different,” he said, joking, “I just hope I don’t embarrass myself.”