Utahns race up 23 flights of stairs for charity

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Many of us save Saturday to run errands, maybe do some housework or spend a little time outdoors. But one group spent their Saturday running up the stairwell of Salt Lake's tallest office building for fun, and for a good cause.

All 140 runners, who are most likely the fittest people you'd ever meet, climbed the 23 flights of stairs housed in the Wells Fargo Building downtown. Some climbed them 10 times; others just once.

They're doing it for charity, raising money for the American Lung Association. But they're also getting a great workout.

Salt Lake City firefighter Bob Silverthorne has been training for this. "This is my first year. I'm just hoping I don't see ‘Mr. Pukey' on the 23rd floor," he said.

Forget puking, Kami McNeill just hoped she wouldn't kill herself climbing all those stairs. "My mother's number is in my pocket. Please call her and let her know that I have expired," she said.

McNeill says the secret to making it to the top is having the endurance of a runner. She's in great shape, but she says she's no runner.

"I practiced on 14 flights of stairs on Monday, and my calves still hurt," McNeill said.

With calves hurting and quads aching, they kept climbing. Sometimes the mp3 player helped, other times it was the railing that kept people going. But they made it.

"I really didn't think I'd make it. It's not as hard as the first day, but tomorrow I'm going to be like: Really, I just walked up 23 flights of stairs?" McNeill said.

We checked it out, and unofficially, climbing one flight of stairs burns about 16 calories. That would mean 23 flights of stairs equals 368 calories. Not bad.

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Lori Prichard


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