Stair Climbing as the Next Trendy Sport?

Photo courtesy of
‘Many steps program’
courtesy of ‘spiggycat’

Here’s one more reason to stand to the right on Metro escalators– that guy running up on the left might be training for an upcoming stair-climbing competition. WTOP reports that stair-climbing competitions have taken hold in Virginia, with people training for 25, 50, or 100-flight races.  The article even mentions tips on stair climbing, like putting your heels down first instead of your toes to protect your knees.

With Metro’s escalator outages, we’re all getting a lot of stair-climbing training in, but be advised: climbing up stopped escalators is much more difficult than climbing stairs for a couple reasons.  The riser on escalators is a few inches greater than that of typical stairs (so you have to take about a 2-inch higher step on every step), and the tread-to-riser (the tread is the part of the stair you step on) ratio is out of proportion on escalators.  So if you’d like to join in the April 25th stair-climbing competition in Norfolk, it’s probably a good idea to stick to traditional stairs.

Shannon grew up in the greater DC area/Maryland suburbs, went to Virginia for college and grad school (go Hoos!), and settled in DC in 2006. She’s an urban planner who loves transit (why yes, that is her dressed as a Metro pylon for Halloween), cities, and all things DC. Email her at Shannon (at)!

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