Woman climbs 100 flights of stairs in just over 5 minutes

Local woman is competitive stair climber

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The headline should include, Stephanie Hucko climbs those 100 flights of stairs, for fun.

The 45-year-old Charlotte woman started competitive stair climbing in 2011 after a friend challenged her to enter a competition in Charlotte's Duke Energy building. She entered that race and won it.

"I think it's the thrill of, when you finish a race and you go outside and look at the building and you're like 'wow, I just climbed that thing," Hucko said.

She says her sport doesn't get much attention but competitive stair climbing is an actual sport with races all over the world.

Hucko, a former runner, is considered to be in the "elite category" of stair climbers.

"I was a competitive triathlete but I stopped racing because it was just too hard on my body," Hucko said.

Climbing stairs is not as hard on the knees, Hucko says, because the gravity puts less force on your body.

We met Hucko at the Vue in uptown Charlotte. A 50-story building where she often trains. The Vue is almost a breeze for her. During a race, she can make it to the top in just over 5 minutes.

The 45-year-old mother of two has competed in races at the World Trade Center and at the Eiffel Tower. The World Trade Center is 102 stories tall.

"You just collapse at the top and you're gasping for air, but it's so gratifying," Hucko said.

While climbing, Hucko says the key is to just keep going. Oftentimes during her training and races, when things get hard, she thinks of her mother.

"I dedicate a lot of my races to my Mom who was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis several years ago," Hucko said, "When I'm struggling in the stairwell and I can't get my breath in, I offer that up to her so she may have an easy day."

Hucko's next race is the Skyrise Chicago at the Willis Tower. It's 103 floors and 2,109 steps tall. Last year, Hucko placed 27th with a time of just over 17 minutes.

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