The first event of the 10th edition of the Dubai Fitness Championship (DFC) is in the books — or, rather, the record books. Forty athletes met at the base of the world’s tallest human-made structure, the Burj Khalifa, on the morning of Dec. 2, 2022. The athletes did something only a handful of people in the world have done before: traverse themselves to the top floor of the building through the structure’s stairway system.
2022 Dubai Fitness Championship Results — Event One | “Burj Khalifa Challenge”
- Run to the top of the Burj Khalifa (160 floors) with a weighted vest | Men: 22 pounds (10 kilograms), Women: 15 pounds (Seven kilograms)
Individual Men’s Results
- Alex Kotoulas – 30:37
- Aniol Ekai – 31:36
- Briant Guillaume– 32:09
- Khan Porter – 32:30
- Brent Fikowski – 32:39
- Javier Gonzalez – 33:20
- Moritz Fiebig – 33:45
- Jonne Koski – 34:27
- Damián Martínez Satorres – 34:44
- Victor Hoffer – 34:44
- Vladimir Sechin – 34:53
- Michal Wesolowski – 35:17
- Reggie Fasa – 35:26
- Luka Vunjak – 35:31
- Luka Đukić – 35:49
- Fabian Beneito Selles – 36:00
- Nikita Yundov – 36:08
- Lazar Đukić – 36:28
- Simon Mäntylä – 37:34
- Giorgos Karavis – 43:30
Individual Women’s Results
- Jamie Simmonds – 32:10
- Aimee Cringle – 32:31
- Emily Rolfe – 32:34
- Andrea Solberg – 33:24
- Oihana Moya – 33:28
- Karin Freyova – 33:39
- Hanna Karlsson – 34:00
- Matilde Garnes – 34:13
- Seher Kaya – 34:20
- Lena Richter – 34:46
- Valentina Magalotti – 34:49
- Aoife Burke – 34:57
- Claudia Gluck – 35:40
- Freya Moosbrugger – 37:09
- Manon Angonese – 37:19
- Maria Längfors – 37:54
- Ella Wunger – 38:21
- Tayla Howe – 38:49
- Dana Paran – 38:50
- Valentina Rangel – 39:27
Check out the results and a breakdown of the event below:
[Related: The 2022 Dubai Fitness Championship Events]
Event One Recap
Athletes gathered on two buses, one for men and one for women, in the early morning in front of the athlete hotel. No coaches or families were permitted to accompany the athletes. The DFC sent a small media team to capture portions of the private and exclusive event at the prestigious Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
Upon arrival, athletes left their belongings on the bus and were escorted to the event’s starting point: the bottom of the towering Burj. One by one, they were donned in their weight vests and escorted to the base of the first of 160 flights of stairs. The tension in the tunnel was palpable for some athletes, while others had a more lighthearted demeanor, though that changed in the first quarter of the workout.
Each athlete had an individual start with a two-minute buffer between them. The men tackled the stairway first, with the lowest-ranked athlete, based on their finish in the DFC Online Qualifier, taking the start position. Twentieth-place first, then 19th, then 18th, and so on, each two minutes apart. The women followed suit, with the lowest rank woman starting two minutes after the highest-ranked man began.
If the effects of the workout hadn’t set in by the first 40 flights, then they did for nearly everyone by the midway point, 80 flights up. Many of the athletes realized they had mispaced early and had to adjust their pacing for the back half of the climb.
[Related: 2022 Down Under Championship Results and Recap: CrossFit Stars Shine in Wollongong, Australia]
In some instances, athletes spent the duration of the event never passing or being passed by a single athlete — approximately 35 minutes of isolation on the endless stairs of the Burj Khalifa. Others found themselves in small clusters as they either conceded or closed the two-minute or, in some cases, four-minute gaps.
A few of the athletes posted phenomenal performances. In particular, event winners Alex Kotoulas, whose time of 30:37 was nearly a minute faster than any other finisher male or female, and Jamie Simmonds, whose time of 32:10 was twenty-one seconds faster than the next closest female challenger. Simmonds would have ranked fourth overall against the men.
Up-and-coming athletes Aniol Ekai (31:36) for the men and Aimee Cringle (32:31) for the women each locked in confidence-boosting second-place finishes. Games athletes occupied the third spot in both divisions, with 2022 Games rookie Guillaume Briant (32:09) and Games veteran Emily Rolfe (32:34) rounding out the top three positions in their respective divisions.
One of the pre-competition favorites, Lazar Đukić, had a surprisingly poor finish taking 18th. More importantly, he needed medical attention following the event. He was evaluated by medical staff at the top of the Burj Khalifa and cleared to continue the competition. Đukić experienced something similar following The Capitol event this past summer at the 2022 CrossFit Games but recovered well enough to continue in the competition.
Rolfe made up a four-minute gap and passed Tayla Howe and Manon Angonese around the 90th floor. Cringle caught Moosbrugger near the halfway point. Simmonds’ winning time was better than all but three of the male competitors and just one second behind Briant Guillaume.
Up Next at the 2022 Dubai Fitness Championship
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, features four events, including one that has yet to be announced at the time of this article’s publication. The start time for the first event is 7:00 a.m. EST.
The competition is live-streamed on the Dubai Fitness Championship YouTube channel. Stay tuned to BarBend’s event coverage and results page to keep up-to-date on the happenings of the 2022 Dubai Fitness Championship.
Editor’s note: additional reporting for this article by Brian Friend.
Featured image: @alex_kotoulas and @jgreenewod on Instagram