MMRF Endurance Events


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How long has the Empire State Building Run-Up been going on?
This is the 37th  year of the Empire State Building Run-Up. It is the fourth year that the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation has been an Official Charity.

When is the MMRF wave of the race?
This year’s race will take place on Wednesday, February 5th beginning at 8 PM.  The “Invitational Heat” which includes 20 of the fastest "tower champs” from around the world, will go at 8 PM sharp. The MMRF Wave, consisting of 200 runners, will go at approximately 8:20 PM. You’ll need to come earlier to pick up your race packet and be ready to line up.    

What time do I have to come on race day?
You will need to be in the building to pick up your race packet at 7 PM sharp.  It’s a mad house with so many people registering, so don’t be late! You’ll be picking up your race packet, stashing your stuff, lining up and getting ready to start the race.  Things move very fast and the race timeline is very prompt. No one will wait for you, so don’t miss the start!

What do I wear?
All runners must wear their MMRF technical jersey. This year, runners will pick up their shirt at race registration. Some runners like to wear a shirt underneath, but remember, it gets hot in the stairway, so don’t overdress! We love that our team makes such a visual impact with the matching shirts. This is our photo op!

It is warm in the stairway, so you’ll be fine in your shirt. Wear what you would wear to work out in a gym. If you like, you can wear another shirt underneath. You are only outside on the Observation Deck for 30 seconds... so don’t worry about that. You’ll actually think the cold feels great at that point!

Do I wear the MMRF team jersey to the party?
YES! You won’t be THAT sweaty. ☺ And, even if you are, it’s a badge of honor to have your battle gear on. We will be taking pictures with your medal and you’ll want the full effect. You can bring something to put on top and pants to put over your shorts, but be sure to keep your MMRF Team jersey on for the limelight!

How hot is it in the stairwell?
According to our resident expert, John Korff, the temperature is 65-68 F and the ambiance is stale and dusty.

How many steps? How many steps per landing?
There are 1,576 steps in the entire race, which make up 86 floors. You burst out of the stairway on the 86th floor and do a half loop around the ESB Observation Deck before you cross the finish line. There are 12-22 steps per flight. A few flights are circular. Most flights are 18 steps with 8.5 inches per step. Got all that?

Can I listen to earphones?
Earphones are discouraged but are not banned at all NYRR events. You need to be able to hear instructions and people shouting to you that they want to pass. If you wear earphones, we totally recommend you wear Yurbuds IRONMAN series. (We love our sponsor!)

What do my friends/wife/husband/guests do while I’m running up?
We know it is disappointing, but your guests can’t come to watch you start. There are two reasons: first, the Empire State Building has very high security. Second, the packet pick up area and the pre-race staging area are very small… and there are several hundred people registering and waiting at once. You’ll see: there is no room! Guests who have been cleared for the post race party can wait to see you in the Heartland Brewery, but space is limited. There are plenty of places for your fans to hang out to wait for you right in the ESB neighborhood. There is a Starbucks on the corner and several other places to wait close by. See: Restaurants near the ESB.

Can my mom come up to see the finish line?
The Observation Deck is very tight on space. Only official runners, photographers and timers are allowed up top. One exception: The biggest individual fundraiser may bring a guest to witness the finish.

Is there a baggage check and where can I change?
There will be a special baggage check in the registration area just for our MMRF wave, but be sure to only bring a SMALL bag. There will be a changing area in the registration area.


What time does the party start? What time does it end?
The party starts as soon as you get there! After you gather yourself, catch your breath and put your heart back in your chest, you will join us for the post race party and awards ceremony in the lower level of the Heartland Brewery, located in the Empire State Building. Most of you will be at the party by 9:00 PM. We’ll start the program around 9:15. We have the room until 10:45 PM.

Can I bring guests to the party?

We will be sending out an invitation to you soon. We can only fit 300 people in the Heartland Brewery, and there are 200 runners, so not everyone can bring a guest. We will work to accommodate some guests, but know that we will give priority to myeloma patients. We want to be sure you know this so that there are no hard feelings on race day! We hope you understand. We will send out an Evite a couple of weeks before the race, and will accommodate requests at that time.


How do you determine the winner of the Corporate Run Up Challenge Spirit of Giving Award?
The Spirit of Giving Award goes to the team of 3 that raises the most funds by 3PM on race day. This is a perpetual trophy. Year one and two, it went to Goldman Sachs. Last year the trophy changed hands, and was won by PwC.

How do you determine the winner of the NYC Triumph Cup?
The NYC Triumph Cup goes to the fastest team, determined by adding together the finish times of the fastest two runners from one team of three. For three  years, this trophy was awarded to Goldman Sachs.

What is the Pharma Cup?
New in 2014, the Pharma Cup is a race withint the race, similar to the Corporate Run Up Challenge. The company that has the fastest team and that raises the most funds that works in the cancer research or pharmaceutical fields has a shot at this beautiful perpetual cup trophy. If a pharma company is the top team in the Corporate Challenge, they will take home the Pharma Cup, not both.

Are there awards for individuals?
Yes!  We give a perpetual cup trophy to the FASTEST WOMAN and the FASTEST MAN.

  • The fastest woman for the past two years was Christine Kenney. 2011 (16:06); 2012 (16:11). 
In 2013, the fastest woman was Yana Rodgers (17:11).
  • The fastest man in 2011 was Brian Kuritzky (13:38); The fastest man in 2012 was Ka Ming Lam of Hong Kong (12:45). Ka Ming is not returning, so the championship is up for grabs!
 2013’s fastest man, Thor  Ludvigsen, was SO fast (10:39) that he was the 2nd fastest man in the entire race, and will likely be invited to run with the elite racers. The second fastest man in 2013 was Matt Ouderkirk with a time of 13:49.

TOP INDIVIDUAL FUNDRAISER:  We also award a perpetual cup trophy to the individual who is not on a team who has raised the most funds.  This person will be allowed to invite a guest to the Observation Deck to watch the MMRF wave finish.

How do I get into the MMRF “Burst Wave”?
Runners who are contenders for the NYC Triumph Cup, Pharma Cup, and the Fastest Man and Fastest Woman awards will have a chance to petition to join the Burst Wave via a form we send on or around January 20. There are only 50 people in this wave.  These runners will leave in one mass ‘burst’ in a race through the door and up the stairs. They will be timed based on the starting horn and the clock at the finish line 86 flights up. The additional 150 runners in our MMRF group will leave the starting line in a time trial format – one runner leaving every five seconds.

How do I train for this race?
Be sure to read the two documents found in this link: HOW THE HECK DO I TRAIN FOR THIS?. You’ll find suggestions on how to train for the race as well as race day advice.

Will my legs hurt?
Yes they will, but that is not what will slow you down. It’s your heart. It will feel like it is jumping out of your chest. This is the ultimate stress test. Don’t worry. They call it the Run-Up, but besides the guys who finish in under 15 minutes, most people do some walking up.


What is the easiest way to fundraise?
We have watched people successfully fundraise time and again using our MMRF Fundraising Playbook. You are doing something most people you know would never attempt to do. They will support you for this crazy feat and this wonderful cause. Ask everyone! Make bets. Make it fun.

When do I have to have the full amount raised?
When you registered for the team you agreed to raise at least 50% of that total fundraising requirement by 6 weeks before the event or12/26/2013, and to raise the entire amount by one week after the event 2/12/2014.

Can I utilize Matching Gifts?
Yes! Many of your donors work for companies that have a matching gifts program whereby they can fill out a simple form and get the donation matched, dollar for dollar. Check this out!  It is an easy way to double many of your donations. We love matching gifts and encourage you to take advantage of them. Check out the instructions HERE.


Do you need a hotel?
The race takes place at 8 PM, and our after party goes until 10:45 or 11:00. Many of you are coming from out of town. Though the room block at the Hampton Inn, one block from the ES, has expired, they have offered to extend the offer for a few more people on a first come basis. The rates are discounted to $189 (King) and $209 (Double) from $300+. Please contact the hotel sales office directly at at 646-616-5951. Tell them you are with the MMRF Run Up Team to see if they can honor the MMRF rate. Rooms are available for Tuesday 2/4 and Wednesday, 2/5. Payment is required in full and cancellations are not refundable.


You have this race on your bucket list. You get to earn your bragging rights to have done this race, which is nearly impossible to get into. Cool technical t-shirt that you will actually wear. Collector’s item medal. And of course a great cause: The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is the world’s largest private funder of myeloma research. The MMRF is recognized as one of the leading non-profits which is rated in the top 1% of all charities evaluated. Through its game changing model and work, the MMRF is leading the way in cancer research.

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