Monday, February 25, 2013

Tallest Building in Montana - First Interstate Center

February 25, 2013 I ran up the stairs of the tallest building in Montana, the First Interstate Center in Billings Montana. While it is not the tallest building I will climb in the United States, at 20 stories it is the tallest building in the northern rocky mountain area, from Minnesota to Washington.
Tallest Building in Montana - First Interstate Bank
This was not associated with an official race so I had to find a proper way to run the building. I entered the building early in the morning and spoke to security/information at the front desk and explained my strange goal. They mentioned people used to exercise by running up the stairs and they had to put a stop to it for liability purposes. I asked to speak to the property manager and they sent me across the street to a very nice woman who decided to make a one-time exception to let me run up the stairs at a designated time when the facilities manager would be there to monitor my run. That was very generous of her, people in Montana are very very friendly. 
First Interstate Building Information Desk
After some successful work meetings that day in Billings and before I drove to the airport I stopped at the First Interstate Center. I changed into my gear in the basement restroom and went to the security desk. After I signed a waiver the facilities manager asked me about what I was doing and how long it was going to take. I said “well its 20 floors so that should take me about 3 minutes and then maybe 5 minutes back down.” He laughed, shook his head and said “I’d be willing to wager on that one…you are NOT going to make it up there in 3 minutes!” I smiled and said “I’m not going to wager on it but I’m confident I will be under 3 minutes.” He laughed. Now there was some pressure to perform.

Stairwell Looking Down Interstate Building  Billings MT
When I entered the stairwell I was impressed at how clean they were. It was a nice change from Vegas hotels. When I was at the Palazzo last Wednesday I didn’t get winded until I was 17 floors up so I figured I should be able to make it to the top before getting tired. Well I forgot about the 3,123 feet elevation in Billings so at the 9th floor the fatigue in my legs and lungs hit and I slowed down for the rest of the run.

I was happy when I stopped the timer on my iphone to see I came in at 2:57. Pretty good estimate and it was fun to show the people at the front desk I was under 3 minutes. Should have taken him up on the wager.
Under Three Minute Stair Climb
It’s funny the sense of accomplishment I get when I drive away and look at the building. I also get excited to call my sister Stephanie to tell her that I checked another one off my list. I really do think about my sweet handicapped niece multiple times during my run. I may not be the fastest at running up these buildings but I have a purpose that gives a deeper meaning to these runs and this goal.

2 down 48 more to go with the Stratosphere coming up Saturday.
Beautiful Billings Montan Skyline View from Airport


  1. I would have loved to see the looks on their faces when you reached the top in under 3 minutes. You are awesome! Wish I could meet you in Vegas to run up the Stratosphere with you.

  2. I like the idea of running up all the tallest buildings. Sounds like the sort of crazy plan I'd come up with.

    I like your stairwell pictures. Have you see the ones I took in the Aon building stairwell here in L.A.? They're on my web site at:

    In any event, I guess I'll be seeing you this weekend in Las Vegas.