Stair Climbing Challenge

By Kayleen Reusser fs82 Published: Apr 05, 2018

Josh Jacket on stairsWant to go stair climbing? For most of us that sounds like hard work, but Josh Jackett g02 finds stair climbing something to celebrate, especially once you reach the top.

In summer 2011, after recovering from an extensive illness, Josh made a decision about his health. “I had lost weight during the illness but gained it all back and more," he said. “That was unacceptable, and I went to a gym to get fit.”

Josh, who came to the Fort Wayne campus from Brighton, Michigan, added running to his exercise routine. Over the next several months, he entered several short-distance road races, up to 5K in length.

In 2013, desiring to support a friend’s charity, he registered for SkyRise Chicago, an annual event that challenges participants to conquer the world’s tallest indoor stair climb, to the top of the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower).

Josh loved the training and challenge, so what began as a one-time way to support a friend five years ago has become a continuing habit of reaching the top. Today, he is ranked 38th in the sport in the U.S.

Josh has participated in TowerRunning USA’s championship, Scale the Strat at the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas; Bop to the Top and the Fight for Air Climb in Indianapolis; Hustle Up the Hancock at the now-former John Hancock Center in Chicago (94 stories, 1,632 steps); a Space Needle climb in Seattle; Ketchum-Downtown YMCA Stair Climb for Los Angeles at the U.S. Bank Tower (tallest stairwell west of the Mississippi); Aon Step Up for Kids at Chicago’s Aon Center (80 stories, 1,643 steps); and a climb of Chicago’s Presidential Towers (four buildings, 45 stories, 585 steps), as part of the annual Fight for Air Climb.

To stay fit for stair climbing, Josh trains approximately six days a week by runningJosh Jacket close up

15 to 25 miles, spinning, and doing cardio and strength training. His day job is a securities operations associate for FIS Outsourcing Solutions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Josh, who earned an English studies degree as a student at Taylor University Fort Wayne (TUFW), has managed personal blogs and written for his company’s newsletter. He recently launched Stair Life, a news and information project aimed at competitive and hobbyist stair climbers.

Josh sums it up by saying, “The act of trying to scale a skyscraper’s stairs as fast as you can is hard and exhausting. It may not seem worth it. But nearly anyone can do it and you don’t have to go fast. You just have to keep going. When you push through the difficulty and come out on top—literally the top of a building—you can look down on the city. It puts what you’ve accomplished into perspective. You’ll be glad you did it.”

Now that’s a celebration.