Hustle up the Hancock

February 23, 2008 12:26:50 PM PST
Joel Africk, CEO of the Respiratory Health Association, visits ABC7Chicago. A record 4000 climbers from every Chicago neighborhood and 29 states will be scaling the 94 stories of the John Hancock Center on Sunday, February 24, 2008 in the 11th annual Hustle Up the Hancock stair climb benefiting lung disease research.

The fastest climbers will sprint up the 1632 steps in under 10 minutes said race director Gina Schweiger. "For many people it's how fast you can climb, for others it's a personal dream to make it to the top, but for everyone it's a way to help reduce the burden of lung disease that strikes a million people throughout the Greater Chicago area."

Stair climbs have become increasingly popular both as athletic challenges and fundraising events. Hustle Up the Hancock, which has been voted the city's best novelty sports event, is expected to raise $1.5 million. It's not easy to get into the world class stair climb; registration typically sells out three months prior to the event.

This year more than 2300 participants indicate they or their families have been touched by a form of lung disease, typically lung cancer, asthma or emphysema. More than 600 climbers are former-smokers. TV anchors, sportscasters and reporters will compete in the media division. Last year NBC5's Mike Adamle took home the fastest climber trophy, and John Garcia led ABC7 in the fastest team category.

For more information on the climb or to donate to lung disease research, visit or call (312) 243-2000.

Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago (RHAMC) has been a local public health leader since 1906. Known previously as American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago, RHAMC ended its affiliation with American Lung Association on July 1, 2007, and now operates as an independent lung health charity with a local board of directors.