Stair climbs: Hustle up the Hancock Recap


When I tell people I’m doing a stair climb, I get a mixed reaction from people just like when I tell then I’m training for a half marathon. The reactions are either “Why?!” To “Your knees must hate you” and “Wait a minute- you’re going to take all of those stairs to the top? Not an elevator?”

Stair climbs are what got me interested in fitness. It was something I never heard of people doing before and to me they seem easier than running. I don’t have to train for them but as a result I would be in some pain afterwards but nothing as much as running a race without proper training!

My first stair climb is the AON Step Up for Kids in 2012 and after that I research to see what other ones happen in Chicago since we have many skyscrapers for possible stair climbs!

That’s when I learned Chicago has 4 stair climbs- AON Step Up for Kids, Fight For Air Climb at Presidential Towers, Hustle up the Hancock, and SkyRise Chicago at the Sears Tower.

Wow, there’s only 4? I then decide to try and do all 4! And as of today I’ve done 2 now- I just completed Hustle up the Hancock this month!

This stair climb is very popular- the full climb (94 stories/1632 steps) ALWAYS sells out very quickly so I made sure to set a reminder for myself for when I can register! The half climb tends to have spots for awhile but by event day the event is sold out for both climbs!

For the full climb, it’s $55 registration fee and $95 minimum donation, so $150 due when you sign up. Pricey, yes, but I figured I just want to do it once and it fills up quick so just do it!

Overall I did enjoy this race. It was run very smoothly since it’s very well organized!

The pros of this race are:
-packet pick up- there was a mail option! So that saved me a trip into the city to get that! And I got it rather quickly too! I ordered the mailing option on Friday and got my packet on Tuesday!
-during my wait in line to climb, they had a lot of interesting things for me to read about their organization, upcoming events, photos were taken, a place to sign my name and why I was climbing.
-they let you carry water into the stairwell (some other ones don’t let you which I understand as a safety precaution)
-a pretty sweet medal!
-I didn’t use this service but the fact that they let your friends and family meet you at the top was nice (of course you have to buy tickets for 360Chicago) but many other stair climbs only let participants at the top so your friends and family would have to wait for you at the bottom.

The cons of this race are:
-this is personal but I don’t like their stairs. They were metal, like the ones on a fire escape so they make a ton of noise!
-the number of stairs for each story of the building was different, so that was rather confusing (ex-the AON is 80 stories/1643 steps and the Hancock is 94 stories/1632 steps) I was told they differ when you were on a residential parts and business parts but I wasn’t counting but I believe it.
-they wanted people to pass on the right which was strange to me for many things you often pass on the left
-coat and gear check were at 2 different locations. That was rather confusing. I don’t like to bring a lot of stuff with me anyways so I made sure to everything I need could fit into my pockets of my coat. Gear check was at the Hilton hotel nearby which was where the celebration was at too. I completely forgot about the celebration since I didn’t do any gear check so I didn’t go. But yeah, 2 different locations was strange but my guess for that was maybe they didn’t have the space for it at the Hancock and of course time restrictions.
-parking! Really expensive! You could either park at the Hancock or at the Hilton! I parked at a friends place and took the el to the Hancock but I understand the prices are because you are at the Hancock, and I was complaining about AON parking prices! If you parked at the Hancock it’s $32 the first 2 hours then $34/hour until you hit 10 hours. You can get $5 if you validate before you leave the Hancock building. At the hilton it’s up to 2 hours is $27 and then afterwards it’s $35 till you hit 6 hours.
-I didn’t get to experience the new tilt 360chicago at the observatory 😦 I would of liked to be able to do more at the top but from what I’ve read online if you buy tickets to the observatory if you want to experience the tilt it’s an additional $5 so that would explain why they didn’t have it available. But it would of been cool, I would of paid that to do it! I’m already up there I want to do stuff up there!

Overall, a great stair climb I would recommend others to do it! You get a great medal and view of the city. My view was different- it was very cloudy when I went up there- I only saw white everywhere and I had to wait awhile for some clouds to clear up before I could get this picture of the trump and sears tower poking through the clouds


Can’t wait to tackle my next stair climb! I have the sears tower and the fight for air climb at presidential towers before I can say I’ve done all the stair climbs in Chicago!