Get Your Steps in While Seeing Seeing the Empire State Building in a Whole New Way

An 86 floor workout? No sweat.

Empire State Building Run-Up
Empire State Building Run-Up | lev radin/Shutterstock
Empire State Building Run-Up | lev radin/Shutterstock

New Yorkers love a challenge. So, it should come as no surprise that every year more than a hundred athletes willingly embark on the brutal journey of running to almost the tippy top of the Empire State Building.

Celebrating its 45th anniversary, the Empire State Building Run-Up claims the title as the first-ever tower run, as well as the most notorious. Requiring a combination of mental and physical toughness, the race kicks off at 8 pm on October 4 and is certainly not for the faint of heart. While it only takes a single minute for visitors of the Empire State Building to reach the 86th floor Observatory via elevator, the fastest runners making their way up via the staircase cross the finish line at about 10 minutes.

Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

Due to limited space and safety precautions, spectators aren’t allowed to watch along the route, but designated spotters call out floor numbers and offer words of encouragement to passing runners.

This year’s registration closed over the summer, but if you’re keen to join next year’s adventure, online admittance is first-come, first-served and costs $125 per person to enter.

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Additionally, this year’s registration proceeds go towards the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which empowers athletes with physical disabilities through sports and fitness.

Final times aside, every participant in the race leaves with an unforgettable sense of accomplishment, a commemorative medal, and, of course, endless bragging rights.

The Empire State Building Run-Up will be held at the Empire State Building on October 4 at 8 pm.

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Izzy Baskette is the New York City Staff Writer for Thrillist. Talk to her at or find her on Instagram.