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Stuttgart man wins Empire State Building Run-Up race

A German man has won the race to the top of the Empire State Building Run-Up in New York City, improving on his win from last year by one second.

Stuttgart man wins Empire State Building Run-Up race
Photo: DPA

The 24-year-old from Stuttgart raced up the 1,576 stairs of the world-famous skyscraper in just 10 minutes and seven seconds – shaving just a tiny amount of time off his previous record. According to race sponsor New York Road Runners, Thomas Dold ran unchallenged to the snowy 86th-floor observation deck where he broke the tape.

“This is such a special win for me,” Dold told the NYRR. “You have to train a lot to get a victory like this, and it gets harder every year – lots of guys want it.”

Dold took part in the 32nd annual race on Tuesday with some 300 other stair runners and is now one win away from tying two other five-time winners.

Another German, Matthias Jahn, took fifth place. Winner in the female group was Suzy Walsham from Australia, who took a nasty fall at the beginning of the race, getting trampled by other runners and badly bruising her face and left knee. She came back from 20th place to win her third race by 13 seconds.

After she received medical attention, men’s winner Dold carried her to the podium where they both received their medals.

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Germany welcomes US troop withdrawal freeze under Biden

The German government on Friday welcomed a decision by President Joe Biden to put on hold plans to reduce US troops in Germany, saying their presence was in the countries' mutual interest.

Germany welcomes US troop withdrawal freeze under Biden
An American soldier stationed in Germany, in front of Dresden's Military History Museum in 2016. Photo: DPA

“We have always been convinced that American troops being stationed here in Germany serves European and transatlantic security and hence is in our mutual interest,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters.

As part of a major foreign and security policy overhaul presented Thursday, Biden announced a freeze on plans set in motion by his predecessor Donald Trump to reduce the US troop presence in Germany, a cornerstone of NATO security since the start of the Cold War.

READ ALSO: What could Joe Biden as US president mean for Germany?

Trump's decision was seen as linked to his tense relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and his frequent complaints that Europe's top economy spent too little on defence.

The United States has had US troops stationed in Germany since World War II but their numbers have declined since the fall of the Berlin Wall from some 200,000 soldiers in 1990 to 34,500 today.

Although the prospect had been looming for years, Trump's decision in July to redeploy 12,000 soldiers from Germany still came as a shock, particularly to towns that have built strong economic and cultural ties to the US military.

READ ALSO: Trump to withdraw 'thousands of US soldiers from Germany' under Biden

“We strongly value the close, decades-long cooperation with the American troops stationed in Germany,” Seibert said.

He said the communities hosting GIs appreciated their presence, calling the bases “part of the lived transatlantic friendship”.  

Seibert said German officials were in “consultations” with the US administration about “further planning” but that the decision how to shape the future American military footprint in Europe was a “US domestic issue”.

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