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updated: 2/9/2014 5:22 PM

Climbers take on suburbs' tallest tower

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  • Dave Kestel of Manhattan, Ill. reaches the top of the Oakbrook Terrace Tower during one of his 10 back to back climbs Sunday morning as part of the Fight for Air Climb to benefit the American Lung Association. The tower is the tallest building in the suburbs.

       Dave Kestel of Manhattan, Ill. reaches the top of the Oakbrook Terrace Tower during one of his 10 back to back climbs Sunday morning as part of the Fight for Air Climb to benefit the American Lung Association. The tower is the tallest building in the suburbs.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Oakbrook Terrace Tower was the site of the annual Fight for Air Climb to benefit the American Lung Association on Sunday morning. The tower is the tallest building in the suburbs.

       Oakbrook Terrace Tower was the site of the annual Fight for Air Climb to benefit the American Lung Association on Sunday morning. The tower is the tallest building in the suburbs.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Terrence Panfil of Elmhurst reaches the top of the Oakbrook Terrace Tower Sunday morning during the Fight for Air Climb to benefit the American Lung Association. The tower is the tallest building in the suburbs.

       Terrence Panfil of Elmhurst reaches the top of the Oakbrook Terrace Tower Sunday morning during the Fight for Air Climb to benefit the American Lung Association. The tower is the tallest building in the suburbs.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Frank Finnegan, 11, of Darien reaches the top a few steps ahead of his dad, Rob, during Sunday's Fight for Air Climb at the Oakbrook Terrace Tower to benefit the American Lung Association. The tower is the tallest building in the suburbs.

       Frank Finnegan, 11, of Darien reaches the top a few steps ahead of his dad, Rob, during Sunday's Fight for Air Climb at the Oakbrook Terrace Tower to benefit the American Lung Association. The tower is the tallest building in the suburbs.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
Daily Herald report

Let Julie Andrews, or even Carrie Underwood, climb every mountain.

Let all those Wolves of Wall Street climb the corporate ladder.

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Let the Chicago Cubs climb in the standings.

OK, that last one was a joke.

But if you really wanted to see folks do some serious climbing -- the kind that requires some honest-to-goodness sweat -- the Oakbrook Terrace Tower was the place to be Sunday.

More than 1,000 people gathered to try their luck, and hamstrings, at scurrying up at least 31 floors -- or 680 steps, not that anyone was counting -- as part of the annual Fight for Air Climb sponsored by the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago.

"It is fun and something good to do in the winter time," Dave Kestel, of Manhattan, Ill., said after climbing the stairs.

The Oakbrook Terrace building is the tallest tower in the suburbs and climbing to the top gave participants ranging from area firefighters to regular folks the chance to not only get in a nice workout, but also to raise money and awareness to tackle lung disease.

"They're not just climbing up stairs," said Meghan Miller, executive director of the Lung Association, in a written statement, "they're fighting for an end to lung disease."

Miller said 90 cents of every dollar raised from the climb "goes directly to education, research and advocacy."

Terrence Panfil of Elmhurst was among the first-time climbers Sunday.

"It was fun but a little harder that I thought," he said.

Just in case running up 31 floors wasn't enough to get their hearts pumping, Sunday's event offered participants several other competitive challenges.

The Extreme Climb, for example, allowed participants to climb the tower twice and combine their times. The Ultimate Climb allowed them to go up three times. The Power Hour allowed climbers to go up as many times as possible in an hour.

Everyone involved paid $25 for the chance to test their stamina and pledged to raise at least $100 for the Lung Association. Multiply that by the number of competitors and it comes to a pretty nice chunk of change.

"This is a fun and unique fundraising event," Miller said. "It combines fitness, competition and an important cause."

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