Westport Man To Climb Empire State Building's Stairs For Charity

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Westport's David Schachne, an avid mountain climber, will run the Empire State Building Run-Up on Wednesday for charity. Photo Credit: Contributed by David Schachne

WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport’s David Schachne has climbed mountains all over the world. But on Wednesday, Feb. 6, he plans to make it up the Empire State Building in a much different fashion.

Schachne will participate in the Empire State Building Run-Up. He is running for the event’s nonprofit host, the Norwalk-based Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.  Readers can support Schachne by contributing through his fundraising page.

He had been trying to land a spot in the race for the past three years. Nearly 2,200 runners applied to run the race and only 650 were accepted. He is one of 125 running for Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

“I hope to do a lot more of these,’’ Schachne said.  “I love to climb, I love to do stairs. I’m not a big runner. These kinds of events, something short and tough, are things I really enjoy.”

Schachne has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Kala Patthar in Nepal, Mount Whitney in California and Mount Elbert in Colorado, among others. Stair-climb races are growing in popularity, and Schachne wanted to support the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

He and his wife, Faith, have granted wishes to children through Make-A-Wish of Connecticut for many years. They granted the wish of a 10-year-old boy to go on a Disney cruise several years ago, and the boy died later that same week from bone cancer. Schachne will be climbing in his honor.

Schachne has prepared for adventures by climbing stairs for several hours, sometimes with a 40-pound backpack as added weight. “The stair machines at fitness clubs just don’t cut it for mountain climbing or for trying to run up the Empire State Building,’’ he said.

Wednesday’s race is 86 stories with 1,576 stairs. The fastest climbers cover the nearly quarter-mile distance in about 10 minutes. Schachne is hoping he can finish in 20 minutes.

“I don’t know how it will end up because of quite a few things,’’ he said. “There are more steps per flight and each step is deeper than what I’ve been practicing on. And there’s also some walking required in between most flights, unlike most tall buildings, which zigzag the entire way up. I also have asthma, and I don’t know how dusty it’s going to be with scores of people inside. I’m also hoping it’s not as crowded on the stairwell as Grand Central Terminal.”

The race starts with a few elite groups that charge toward the stairs between 8 and 8:30 p.m. Schachne and the rest of the runners will go off in seven-second intervals thereafter. The muscle groups he uses in mountain climbing are similar to those used in the stair-climb race, he said.

“I’ve known about this event many years, but never thought I could get into it,’’ Schachne said. “I’m glad I’m finally getting the chance to do it and support MMRF. I’m in decent shape. And I thought if I’m ever going to do it, this is the time.”

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