SNOW’S THE STAIR MASTER IN THE RACE OF THE THOUSAND STEPS

HERE’S a story with legs: the results of the third annual Vertical Rush race up the 920 dizzying steps of City skyscraper Tower 42 in aid of housing charity Shelter.

Setting off in hourly slots, 1,200 chip-timed runners – including racers from Legal & General, Schroders, Threadneedle, Tullett Prebon and KPMG – vied to see who could scale the stairs in the fastest time, with Graeme Newton from Tullett Prebon reaching the top in seven minutes and 11 seconds and Hugo Joyce from Schroders clocking in at eight minutes and two seconds.

However, they were no match for Matt Roberts, personal trainer to the rich and famous, who “pushed his physical capabilities to the limit” to reach the top in just six minutes and 44 seconds, before Channel 4 News broadcaster Jon Snow had even tied his shoelaces.

When Snow did eventually reach the top, five minutes and 13 seconds later, he declared that the UK’s largest tower-running event is on a par with tackling election nights and conducting heated debates with members of Parliament. “I’ve certainly come across some challenges in my career,” he said. “But never had I imagined I would attempting to race up nearly 1,000 steps in record time.”

NOTES ON A SCANDAL
WITH a month having passed since former Dresdner Kleinwort banker Christian Littlewood was given the UK’s longest-ever sentence (40 months) for insider dealing, it’s odd the FSA still hasn’t acknowledged his misdemeanours.

The FSA’s website (www.fsa.gov.uk/ register) would seem to suggest that Littlewood has no disciplinary record worth mentioning, despite being convicted of buying shares in companies just prior to takeover announcements more than 20 times in ten years.

Littlewood is clearly a man who likes to play his cards close to his chest, judging by the fact that his LinkedIn page shows him acquiring just one solitary connection during his time at Dresdner.

It’s not his wife Angie, whom Littlewood chivalrously attempted to blame for the insider trading scandal, so who could it be?

TAXI!
AS insurance firms digest the implications of the European Court of Justice decision that they can’t reduce premiums for safer female drivers, there is at least one feminist for whom the controversial ruling simply doesn’t apply.

Labour’s deputy leader and chief gender warrior Harriet Harman was at a Westminster lunch for political reporters yesterday when she declared: “I’ve been paying twice as much on my car insurance for years and I can’t work out why!”

Harman was poking fun at herself because she was, in fact, fully aware that the premium hike came after a little incident in 2009 when she was so busy chattering on her mobile that she crashed her car and, in her hurry, failed to leave her details at the scene.

Instead, she proclaimed: “I’m Harriet Harman – you know where you can get me!”

Luckily, discrimination against politicians is still very much allowed – even after the ECJ’s interventions.

ON YOUR BIKE
IS there anybody left working at their desks in the City these days? The Capitalist only asks because the start of spring seems to have inspired the financial world to up sticks and set off around the world by bicycle.

Brett Seychell, who has been the general manager of the Abacus bar on Cornhill for the past three years, is turning his back on working for the busiest bar in the City to cycle from London to Melbourne with his girlfriend Kimmi.

You can follow their exploits at www.thekindnessofstrangers.net, the website for the private charity they have set up. But if you would like to take a more active role, Matthew Whitaker, programme manager from Barclays, is looking for volunteers to join him on a bike ride from Hyde Park corner to Christchurch to raise funds for the victims of the New Zealand earthquake.

Christchurch, Bournemouth, that is – to ride, help or sponsor the 110 mile feat, contact Matthew on mattheww_nz @yahoo.co.uk.

£100k DAY

ANOTHER fundraiser for the New Zealand earthquake victims is the all-star charity rugby game between the Pacific Barbarians and an Australian XV this Sunday at the Old Deer Park in Richmond.

Bookmaker Paddy Power is sponsoring a “half-time cross-bar” challenge at the game, when two people from the crowd who have bought raffle tickets will be selected to drop-kick from 40 metres for £100,000.

If the punters hit the bar, they win the jackpot and the drinks are on them for the rest of the day – not bad at all for 15 minutes of work.