Vertically Challenged

This month’s Master the Met gives “I’ll take the stairs” a whole new meaning

By Stefene Russell
Photograph courtesy of HOK

On March 1, hundreds of people will race up the stairs in downtown’s 593-foot-tall Metropolitan Square Building. Why? It’s more interesting than a marathon.

Actually, Master the Met, which will benefit the American Lung Association, is a first for St. Louis. “They do them all over the country,” says Kelly Carter, a development director for the ALA. “We hadn’t had one in St. Louis—but we have all these skyscrapers. We were like, ‘Well, we might as well go and find the tallest one.’”

It’s not the Burj Dubai, but it’s still plenty tall. We crunched the numbers on the contest.

42: Floors. Sound like a lot? The climb at last month’s “Hustle Up the Hancock,” in Chicago—where runners scaled the John Hancock Center—was 94 floors ... which kinda puts things into perspective.

1,000: Steps. Well, give or take a few—probably give; the official stair count is “over 1,000.”

Number of dollars participants will pay to park in the Met’s garage on race day. The lot across the street from the building charges $1 per 15-minute increment; parking there might just motivate you to stair-schlep at maximum speed to make it back to your car.

3: Rest floors. “If anyone needs to go to the bathroom, or if for some reason they’re unable to make it up anymore, they can come down at that point,” Carter says, adding they’ll have water and snacks available, too. The numbers you’ll really want to know are the floors to get off on: 10, 20 and 31.

8: Minutes to Barnes-Jewish ... if you’re too stupid to get off on 10, 20 or 31 when you start seeing little glowing asterisks swimming in your field of vision.

20: Average minutes required to walk up the stairs (15 if you run). “But there are building tenants here that have climbed these stairs and timed themselves, and they’re fast—they’re within 7 or 8 minutes,” Carter says. That’d be folks on the IronWorks Fitness Team—which, with 20 members, is currently the biggest team in the race.

56: Number of seconds, roughly, required to ride the elevator from the top back to the ground floor. Our advice: If you decide to master the Met, be sure to pack Icy Hot and chewing gum—not only will your gams be aching, your ears will be popping, too.


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