On Sunday 21 August, a record-breaking 1,200 Sydneysiders put their best foot forward as they climbed 1,504 steps to the Observation Deck of the Sydney Tower Eye for the 2016 Sydney Tower Stair Challenge, raising close to $200,000 for charity.
From the stair-climbing elite to the costumed fun runners, the event saw people of all ages, including celebrities James Kerley and The Bachelorette's Dave Billsborrow, step it up for charity partner Giant Steps, an organisation that supports children with autism and their families.
Reigning champions Mark Bourne and Suzy Welsham were the quickest to complete the challenge, scaling the 250 metres in 7:35 and 8:27 respectively.
Last year, the Sydney Tower Stair Challenge was added to the prestigious International Vertical World Circuit - a federation that brings together the best stair runners in the world - with this year's two winners, Mark Bourne and Suzy Welsham, awarded a trip to the circuit's Grand Finale, held in Hong Kong in December.
"Every year, the Sydney Tower Stair Challenge has gone from strength to strength since our first event in 2013. The combination of a serious challenge, raising money for children with autism and Sydney's most spectacular finish line is a winning combination" says Director of Active8Change, Steve Corrie.
"Today's event participants showed stellar efforts in tackling the 1,504 steps up to the Observation Deck of the Sydney Tower Eye! Whether they walked, ran or crawled they should all be thrilled with their efforts."
Sydney Tower Eye General Manager, Ian Wood said this year's event has drawn the largest number of participants, up 400 participants year on year and is a fantastic opportunity for Sydneysiders and the running elite to support a worthwhile charity.
"Each year, the Sydney Tower Stair Challenge attracts a wonderful cross section of Sydneysiders, all united in supporting Giant Steps and the important work the charity undertakes, and is a real highlight of the year for us," Mr Wood said.
"This year's event is the biggest we've ever had and the atmosphere is like nothing else. The Sydney Tower Stair Challenge is a highlight for us every year and we are thrilled to be able to support Giant Steps and the wonderful work it does for children with autism and their families."
The money raised, almost $200,000, will be put towards the development of educational programs and technologies that will directly support Giant Steps students and families.