By Ovunc Kutlu
Turkish Airlines has signed on as the presenting sponsor of the Empire State Building Run-Up presented by Turkish Airlines powered by the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
The 41st annual competition, which is the world's oldest and most famous tower race, will require athletes to climb 1,576 stairs to the 86th floor of the fifth tallest building in the U.S. on Feb. 7.
"Participants in the race include the men's and women's Elite Heats, media, celebrities and New York City real estate brokers. Turkish Airlines, Challenged Athletes Foundation, members of the NYPD & FDNY and lottery winners also compete," said a statement from the Empire State Building.
While it takes less than a minute for visitors to reach the 86th floor via elevator, the runners climb the stairs in approximately 10 minutes.
Australian athlete Paul Crake holds the record in men's category with 9 minutes and 33 seconds he set in 2003, while Suzy Walsham earned her fifth-straight and record-breaking eighth overall victory in the 2017 Empire State Building Run-Up women’s invitational heat with a time of 12:11, according to the statement.
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Turkish Airlines, which is one of the largest carriers in the world, sponsored a Hollywood movie in 2016 and ran its commercials during the annual championship game of the U.S. National Football League, Super Bowl, in the past two years.
Before Super Bowl 50 in February 2016, Turkish Airlines sponsored the pre-game commentators' analysis presentation on CBS.
The airlines' commercials also ran during Super Bowl 50, watched by 112 million viewers in the U.S., featuring Hollywood stars such as Ben Affleck and Jesse Eisenberg, as part of the movie 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice'.
In the commercials, Turkish Airlines added two destinations into its large global portfolio -- Metropolis and Gotham City, hometowns of Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman, Clark Kent a.k.a Superman and his archnemesis Lex Luthor.
Turkish Airlines also sponsored the film in which a scene takes place aboard one of the company's planes.
During Super Bowl 51 in February 2017, 111 million U.S. viewers saw Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman starring in another Turkish Airlines commercial.