NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Hundreds of people will lace up their sneakers to scale 1,576 steps up the Empire State Building.

The 36th annual Empire State Building Run-Up will be held Wednesday night, as competitors from around the world race from the iconic building’s lobby up to the observation deck on the 86th floor.

More than 600 runners from 18 countries are registered for the run.

The run-up used to be held during the day before being switched to evening hours last year to allow more participation. The event is put on by the New York Road Runners, which also puts on the annual New York City Marathon.

The vertical race is roughly equivalent to a quarter of a mile, according to the NYRR.

Like the marathon, start times are staggered. The elite men and woman start before the general field, and participants in the general field are released one at a time several seconds apart to avoid crowding.

The first heats start the race at 8 p.m.

The run-up is sponsored for a third year by the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

According to the Empire State Building’s website, last year’s winners were Thomas Dold of Germany and Melissa Moon of New Zealand. They won the Men’s and Women’s Invitational titles with times of 10:28 and 12:39, respectively.

It was the second win for Moon and a record seventh win for Dold, according to the website.

Would you ever take part in the run-up? Let us know in the comments section below…

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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