Kelly Ripa leads the Media groups runners for the 2013 Empire State Building Run-up. February 6, 2013 ( credit: Kevin Kane )
Kelly Ripa leads runners in theEmpire State Building Run-up. Feb. 6, 2013 ( credit: Kevin Kane ) 


A contingent of Long Islanders joined more than 730 runners that raced up 86 floors Wednesday in the Empire State Building Run-Up for the grueling 36th-annual “vertical marathon.”

Among them were Art Sorenson, 51, of Long Beach, who returned to the building where he met his wife to help him regain some normalcy after Superstorm Sandy wrecked his family’s home, and 69-year-old Rick Feinstein of Jericho, who’s training for next year’s anti-elevator event to try something more challenging after running 33 New York City Marathons.

“I’ve been through this whole aftermath so I’d really like to get my life back to normal,” said Sorenson, a Red Lobster manager whose neighborhood is still only partly repopulated. “If you can believe that [means] running up the Empire State Building.”

He also climbed 1,576 stairs — like he did in 21 minutes last year — for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, which sponsors the race to raise funds to find a cure for the rare form of blood cancer. The tower lights were lit up orange and white for the event organized by the New York Road Runners.

Feinstein, a CPA who did the stair-climbing race twice in the ’80s, didn’t expect a repeat of his 14 and 15-minute finish times.

“Anyone can run when it’s sunny and nice and warm and flat,” he said. “It takes a marine to do it when it’s not.”

Mark Bourne, a 29-year-old Austrailian endurance athlete, reached the observatory from the lobby first with a time of 10 minutes, 12 seconds. Suzy Walsham, a 39-year-old fellow Aussie, won the women’s division in 12 minutes, 5 seconds.

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.