Laura Dick Smashes Rookie Stepclimbing Record

by Danny Chew

On Saturday, January 2, 2010, I began stepclimbing with Brazil Ironman finisher, two-time Dirty Dozen finisher, and 2:48 marathon runner Laura (Hruby) Dick at 8:25 am. She wanted to break the multiple times up record for a rookie female (18 by Jennifer Holderbaum), and if she felt good, go for the rookie male record of 26 set by Jeremy Shearer. I familiarized her with the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning Building she would come to know well by the end of the day. We started at a pace of 5 times up per hour - Laura tied Jennifer's 18 record in 3 Hours, 30 Minutes. Proving that she still had a lot left in her gas tank, Laura stepped the pace up to 6 climbs per hour the next two hours - she tied Jeremy's 26 record in 4 Hours, 53 Minutes, and still hardly looked tired. Jeremy's time was 4 Hours, 30 Minutes, but he didn't have to climb anymore. We did another 10 climbs together, stopping at 3:03 pm. Laura's new overall rookie record is 36 times up (3 vertical miles) in 6 Hours, 38 Minutes for a rate of 5.43 climbs per hour.

Since Laura was able to do an under 7 minute climb her 30th time up, I believe she could have climbed faster or done many more climbs. She doubled the old women's rookie record of 18, and bettered the men's rookie record by 10 climbs. She also did the 4th most climbs ever done by a woman, but at a significantly faster rate/pace. Just 3 weeks ago, untra-runner Diana Marongiu-Lutz did 102 climbs - breaking her own previous women's record of 40, and breaking my overall record of 101 climbs! Last week, mountain biker & Dirty Dozen finisher Ruth Cunningham did 43 climbs. I asked Laura if she wanted to go for 40 times up to which she told me that would force her to go for 44 also to surpass Ruth. So she and I (still not recovered from my 112 times up last week) were content to end with 36 climbs - one for each floor. Not the endurance freak I am, she is more likely to set the new women's record for one time up (2009 Dirty Dozen winner Betsy Shogren may have come close to 5 minutes) rather than go after Diana's 102 times up record.

Also climbing with Laura & I were my Nephew Steven Perezluha, my brother Tom, Jonathan Pratt, Ken Delraso Jr., Ken's brother Marcus, Ken Delraso Sr., Don Erdeljac, and rookies Lily Pietryka, and Mike Bayster & Emily McMahon. Showing he was recovered from his 132 times up record set last week, Steven set his one time up PR of 3 Minutes, 52 Seconds on his 7th trip up. This took 6 seconds off his old PR, and got him within 14 seconds of my building record of 3 Minutes, 38 Seconds. He also went for 6 time Dirty Dozen winner Steve Cummings' every step (touching all steps the entire way up) record of 4 Minutes, 35 Seconds, but missed it by 5 seconds. Steven did a total of 31 climbs. Ken Jr. must also have been recovered from his 72 times up PR last week, as he set his one time up PR of 4 Minutes, 19 Seconds - taking nearly a half minute off his old record. By the way, Steven & Ken Jr. were together halfway up in 1 Minute, 53 Seconds before Steven dropped him. Ken Jr. did a total of 32 climbs. However, 48 year old Jon Pratt was not recovered from his 105 times up PR last week, as he was only able to get within 20 seconds of his one time up PR of 4 Minutes, 25 Seconds. Pratt did a total of 20 climbs. Vertical miles (12 times up) were done by Don Erdeljac, Marcus Delraso (new PR), and rookie Lily Pietryka (new PR). My brother Tom (training for mountain climbing) did 10 times up & 7 times down. Rookies Mike Bayster & Emily McMahon went up 8 times.

After I hyped up my ideal number 8 because it is 2 cubed and totally symmetrical (can be cut in half both vertically and horizontally), Laura revealed her fascination with prime numbers, and the number 51 - not a prime, but the product of two prime (3 & 17) numbers. Steven and Ken Jr. made their argument for 64 being the ideal number because it is 2 to the 6th power, 4 cubed, and 8 squared. The things you come up with to help pass the time in boring stairwells.

These are photos Laura e-mailed me:


Ken Jr., Laura, Danny, & Steven on the 36th Floor Before Climbing


Laura, Danny, Steven, & Ken Jr. After 30, 30, 31, & 32 Climbs


New Overall Rookie Record Holder Laura & Danny After 36 Climbs