Eiffel Tower: A Race To The Top

Posted On Aug 20, 2018 By David Garcia

David Garcia next to his Eiffel Tower Vertical finisher trophy.

Many times, when you start losing weight or getting healthier, you have an idea of what you think the end result will be, and that’s what you work toward: getting to a certain number on a scale, being able to lift a certain amount at the gym, or improving your wellness, so you can sleep better or lower your blood pressure.

Keep an open mind during the process, though, because I can vouch that there are some milestones you’ll never see coming, and the pride and accomplishment that you’ll feel with those is second to none.

I should know, because it happened to me. Eight years ago I weighed over 400 pounds. Never once, when I started losing the weight, did I think I’d take up a new sport — a challenging sport called tower running, which involves racing up the stairs in super tall skyscrapers. (For more info, read about how I discovered the sport.)

Now I’m 160 pounds lighter — weight I've kept off for seven years — and I’m a tower runner with almost 60 races under my belt. But even after I started racing, never did I imagine that one day I’d be at the top of the most famous structure in the world, having participated in one of the most prestigious races on the planet.

The race is called the Eiffel Tower Vertical, and it’s up 1,665 steps to the top of the iron lady. There’s immense competition to even get a bib. Nearly a thousand people apply, but only 129 racers are selected. I’m by no means the fastest tower runner, not by a long shot, but in January, I was selected to compete in the 2018 race. I was one of only three Americans selected. Sacré bleu!

I worked hard to prepare. I climbed lots of stairs, used my BowFlex Max Trainer M5 to amp up my HIIT training and lifted weights using my SelectTech dumbbells. I was nervous — petrified, really — but this was the opportunity of a lifetime, and I wanted to do my very best.

The climb itself was magical. I was focused on the stairs, but it was hard to ignore, through the sea of iron beams and rivets all around me, the beautiful, twinkling lights of Paris below me, getting farther and farther away as I got higher and higher.

It was also very, very difficult, because racing up stairs is no easy feat! But every drop of sweat, every aching muscle, every beat of my racing heart, and every tear, brought on by utter exhaustion, then pride, was completely worth it.

I climbed the Eiffel Tower in 16 minutes, 19 seconds. I had one of the slowest times of the night, but you know what? I’m a champion. In every sense of the word. And this milestone means so much to me, because it represents a dream and a goal that, for a long time, were out of the realm of possibility. I’m so grateful for that chilly Parisian evening, because I learned I could make dreams I never knew I had come true.

Read more about my Eiffel Tower Vertical race on my website.

About David Garcia:

David Garcia has lost and kept off 160 pounds, and is the Los Angeles-based blogger behind www.keepitupdavid.com, where he shares his struggles, successes and everything in between. You may have seen him on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “The Doctors,” “Home & Family,” on AOL.com's homepage, or in newspapers across Canada.

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