Vertical Montserrat Climb

Marsha O’Loughlin

Dennis J. O’Loughlin

On June 11 the Vertical Montserrat Tower Stair Climb was held in Montserrat, Spain. This was the first time the race resumed after being postponed twice due to the COVID-19  pandemic. This event is the most demanding vertical race in Spain and is included in the international circuit Towerrunning World Association. This event is held to raise funds for children at risk to SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital.

Robson Ranch resident Marsha O’Loughlin flew to Barcelona, Spain, on June 8 to compete in the Montserrat Stair Climb scheduled for June 11. After a short stay in Barcelona, she traveled to Montserrat to prepare for the race. At 77 years of age, Marsha was the oldest competitor ever to climb the mountain, and she was overwhelmed with accolades from other runners and police officers because of her age. The police officers wanted to be in a picture with her.

The grueling race consisted of 2,180 steps up the mountain, equivalent to a 120-story tower. It had a slope gradient of 65%, beginning at an altitude of 469 feet and finishing at an altitude of 2,342 feet.

Marsha has been competing in stair climbing events and marathons for more than 40 years in the United States and Europe. She also completed the 100th Boston Marathon in 1996 by qualifying with a 3:21 marathon in Houston, Texas.

She was one of four women from the United States invited to compete in the 2020 Eiffel Tower run. One day after her arrival in Paris, France, she was notified that the Eiffel Tower climb had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She retains her invitation to compete in that climb, which will resume in 2023. Even though she was not able to compete in 2020, she took advantage of practicing climbing the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe before she returned home to Texas. She is anxiously awaiting to compete in that climb in 2023, and her training continues.