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Stair Marathoner Ryoji Watanabe, who has appeared on numerous TV programs Ryoji Watanabe, a "stair marathoner" who has appeared on numerous TV programs, won the world championship held at Abeno Harukas for the first time in his life!

~The Challenge of the Man Who Would Be King of the Stairs


Yokomori Manufacturing Co. (Head Office: Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; President: Takeshi Ariake), a steel staircase specialist since 1951, won the World Champion in the Stair Climbing (stair marathon) World Championship held at Abeno Harukas in Osaka City on Sunday, November 19, 2023. He was crowned world champion.

He reached the goal of 1,610 steps 288m from the 1st floor to the observation deck on the 60th floor in 8 minutes 53.61 seconds. Although he was obese as a child and was not very good at the sport, he continued his efforts to become the world's number one in the sport he loved, and it paid off.

Award Ceremony: Front row, 3rd from the right

What is the new competition "Steer Climbing (Stair Marathon)"?

The official name is "Stair Climbing. It has gained popularity in recent years as an urban sport in which participants run up emergency staircases of skyscrapers, etc. About 300 events are held annually overseas. In Japan, it has been held at Chubu Electric Power Company's MIRAI TOWER (former Nagoya TV Tower) and Abeno Harukas in Osaka, etc. Watanabe won the "2023 STAIRCLIMBING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS", a world championship event produced by the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation). Watanabe's long-cherished dream was to win the world's highest level race, the "2023 STAIRCLIMBING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS" produced by the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation), where representative athletes from 11 countries gathered.

He continued to pursue his dream of becoming the world's number one climber.

What is "all out" for a man who had never been able to achieve success in any sport?

I want to be the best in the world. The dream he had been chasing since childhood finally came true.

Born in Tokyo in 1984. Although he was obese as a child, he dreamed of standing on the podium in some sport and tried various sports from childhood, including baseball and table tennis. After graduating from college, he joined a gym with the goal of making a name for himself in boxing, but gave up after failing to pass a professional test. He continued running, but also got into trail running, which is a mountain marathon. He found his strength in "climbing up" and challenged "stair climbing (stair marathon)" for the first time, which was recommended by his friends, and he placed 3rd in the world competition, beating out the world's best runners. In December 2016, at the age of 32, he took on a new challenge.

In his private life, Watanabe is the father of a child. While working full-time as a welfare facility employee, he continued to train on the steps of a nearby shrine. What Watanabe arrived at was "all out. This is a style in which he continues to give it his all even when he reaches his limits. No one had pioneered this sport, and no training methods had been established. Self-taught, he climbed the stairs and continued to push himself. In 2020, he was officially recognized by Guinness World Records(R)(TM) as the "Fastest 1-mile Vertical Stair Climb by a Male" and made five round trips up Tokyo Sky Tree in 1 hour, 6 minutes, and 58 seconds, shaving over 30 minutes off the previous record. He was able to do this not only because of his physical strength, but also because of his incredible mental strength.

A barrier and a turning point as an athlete.

In 2022, he won all three of the steer climbing Japan Circuit events held in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. Having become a dominant presence as the Japanese champion, Watanabe's next goal was to become the "World's No. 1 Stair Climbing King," but the night shift at the welfare facility where he worked was an obstacle to his participation in overseas competitions. In 2023, however, with the cooperation of Yokomori Seisakusho, a staircase manufacturer that had been supporting him for some time, he was able to create an environment in which he could focus on competing as an affiliated athlete. On November 19, Watanabe participated in the SWC (Steer Climbing World Circuit), a world championship organized by the ISF, as one of the Japanese representatives at his home ground in Abeno Harukas, Japan. Watanabe won by a whopping 38 seconds over Italy's Fabio, and was crowned the long-sought after World Champion. This was the moment when a man who never gave up and kept on trying with all his might made his dream come true.

Comments from Ryoji Watanabe and his future challenges

I want something I can proudly say I am the best. I have had this thought since I was a child. I had been unable to achieve any results no matter what I did, but I finally got it when I met "stair marathon" after I turned 30 and became a world champion in steer climbing before I turned 40. But the dream is not over. Not only to climb stairs faster than anyone else, but also to enjoy this sport more than anyone else, to spread the sport as a pioneer, to offer the treasure of health to everyone with the familiar facility of stairs, and above all, to become a "true king of stairs" who can tell people that their dreams can come true if they face them with all their might. I would like to continue to pursue such a dream throughout my life, and to achieve this goal, I would like to compete in the next season's race against overseas rivals who did not participate in this year's championship.

Past Activities and Future Prospects

Since 2017, I have appeared on numerous TV programs, from variety shows to news programs. She has also been active as a lecturer at health seminars and lectures for local governments and private companies. As a pioneer of "stair climbing (stair marathon)," I have been working to spread awareness of the sport. He has won many awards at competitions, and is planning to compete in the world championships overseas in March 2024.

Ryoji Watanabe Profile

Affiliation : Yokomori Seisakusho Co.

Year of Birth :1984

Place of birth : Tokyo, Japan

Hobbies : Running, eating big portions

Main career:


2022 Vertical Japan Circuit Men's Overall Champion

2020 Tokyo Tower Stair Climbing World Champion

    Guinness World Record(R)(TM) "Fastest 1-mile Vertical Stair Climb (Male)

Nicknamed "The King of Stairs

Company Profile

A manufacturer specializing in steel-framed staircases established in 1951. The company is responsible for the integrated design, manufacture, and installation of stair manufacturing, including indoor and outdoor evacuation stairs, decorative stairs with high design quality, and residential stairs, and has a track record of being used in approximately 80% of high-rise buildings over 200 meters in Japan.

Trade name: Yokomori Seisakusho Co.

Representative: Takeshi Ariake, President and Representative Director

Head office: 1-29-2 Hatagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0072, Japan

Established: 1951

Capital: 60 million yen

Business description: Design, manufacture, and installation of various types of steel stairs and railings


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