From a pipedream to a reality… it’s all done and dusted… for now…

Hello stairclimbers!

As you all know, last Saturday saw 8 months of planning come to fruition in a single day. Both Andy and myself have had many sleepless nights over that time, and I’m pretty sure that the rest of our management team shared this feeling!

I’d like to take this opportunity on behalf of us both to thank everyone who made the event happen, because without you guys, I wouldn’t be sat here writing this…

Firstly, on event day, I’d like to thank all of our amazing volunteers. These guys came down and gave up their Saturday so that all you athletes could enjoy the event. They managed the registration desks, covered the stairwells, gave you all your goody bags, amongst many other roles, for this guys I thank you. Hopefully aside from the money you helped us raise, you got some great views from the Bridgewater Place roof.

Our sponsors in no particular order…

  • Bridgewater Place and Jones Lang LeSalle, you both bent over backwards to get the show on the road, and spent quite a bit of cash to help us ensure it all runs smoothly.
  • The Yorkshire Cancer Centre, aside from all the PR that you gave us to advertise the event throughout the hospital, you helped us staff the event with volunteers, whilst giving us constant support in the setup of the event.
  • G-Rex Fitness for working on the event from day one, from event proposal to managing the day itself in the form of Andy and myself.
  • Rushfirth Creative for designing all the fantastic branding, I think you’ll agree it looked absolutely brilliant!
  • The Yorkshire Mafia for donating their booking system, to say that it saved Andy and I a couple of hours of admin would be a massive understatement.
  • Innovate Contract Furniture for building the stage on the day of the event, it looked amazing, something that I’ve grown accustomed to with the company.
  • ghd sponsored two of the floors on event day, as you will have seen from the photos, as well as many staff members signed up to the challenge and ran the stairs.
  • Airienteers Orienteering, Steve in particular, for coming down for the full day and providing us with the dibber timing system, I love it, and it came across that you guys loved it too!
  • ASDA and Tesco for donating everything you received in your goody bags.
  • CrossFit West Yorkshire for helping us spread the word of the event; you guys turned out in force and pushed the leader board to the wire!
  • UK Outdoor Fitness for providing Rupert to lead the first two warm up sessions, preparing the athletes for the ascent to come.
  • Xercise4Less for backing the event and donating winners prizes.
  • Osteogenic Centers UK for coming out on the day and giving athletes free use of your kit, something that I know plenty of people took advantage of.
  • Up and Running and Sweatshop, both backed the event from the start, and gave away vouchers for their stores in the goody bags.
  • Eversheds for providing all the tables and chairs for the day so that we didn’t have to rent anything.

Secondly, can I thank our photographers Nicky, Mark, Karl, Craig and Mike, the photos/videos that you captured on the day are awesome, and I know that from the amount of notifications I’ve received on the iPhone all athletes loved them too. If you haven’t seen them, check out the G-Rex Fitness HQ facebook page where they’re all housed, with links to each photographers web address.

And last but not least, we can’t forget to thank you guys, the stairclimbers. If you hadn’t have signed up and taken part, we wouldn’t have had the great success that we had. Every single person, from the winning male and female, to the last ones to cross the finish line, you all gave it your all.

Great work everyone, it’s been a long 8 months… but it was worth every second!


The GYSC trial run matches the current tallest!

Last night we had the opportunity to take a selection of people down to Bridgewater Place to trial the stairwell. We purposely kept the occasion small, and invited a couple of people to sprint up the first 20 storeys of the building, matching Yorkshire’s current tallest stairclimb before it is surpassed by the Great Yorkshire Stairclimb!

Sian and Sarah from my UK Outdoor Fitness bootcamp session came down to give it a go, giving them the opportunity to test their tower running legs prior to the GYSC event on November 24th.

We had the event well marshalled, and four of us donned our shorts and t-shirts to be the guinea pigs for the evening. We decided not to time the event, firstly because we want to keep our innovative timing system a secret until the big day, but mainly because it was all about being there and enjoying the experience. Hitting the stairs we had:

  • Emma Griffiths (set off first to see how long it takes to walk)
  • Sian Owen (set off seconds)
  • Sarah Smalley (set off third)
  • Gary Butterfield aka me (set off last)

I’d like to send out a big thank you to the guys above for taking the time out and trialling the event for us, we learnt a great deal and can now take these away to make the GYSC even better next month.

Also, I’d like to send out a big thank you to the management team and volunteers who came down to help us run the show. These guys were:

  • Andy Dodman (my fellow race director and photo extraordinaire on floor 10)
  • Sue, Henry and Emily Dodman (our race starters and time managers)
  • Geoff Render (our time manager on floor 10 to check split times of people)
  • Richard Oldroyd (our photo taker on floor 20, and key marshal taking athletes in to the stairwell)

Overall I think the night went great, many lessons were learned, and thankfully not the hard way, and gave Andy and me the opportunity to experience our first time as event directors.

Really can’t wait for the big day now!


The four of us in front of an amazing Leeds view on floor 20, 12 storeys lower than the 32 storey event!

Match the tallest stairclimb in ‘God’s Own County’ as a warm up, anyone?!

The current height leader in the world of Yorkshire stairclimbing is the Arts Tower, weighing in at a hefty 20 storeys. It’s part of the University of Sheffield, and a building that Andy and Gary know all too well having participated in its first event earlier this year. The GYSC will trounce this though with a whopping 32 storeys on the November 24th!

For a mere £2.50 (all money raised goes to the Yorkshire Cancer Centre) we’re giving you the opportunity to come and match the Arts Tower Stairclimb by heading to Bridgewater Place and hitting the first 20 storeys, it’s all kicking off this Thursday only at 7:00pm! It’s very rare for access like this to be granted in BWP because it’s a residential tower, so it’s definitely an opportunity not to be missed.

The top of Bridgewater Place in all its glory!

This event isn’t going to be timed, so if you’re interested in hitting it as hard as you can and seeing how you fare against your other competitors, make sure you’re wearing a stopwatch and find other competitors on the G-Rex Fitness facebook page. If you’re a bit of a twitter fiend, you can use the twitter hashtag #GYSC as an alternative.

All participants will be required to complete a pre-activity readiness questionnaire (PAR-Q) before participating, don’t worry though we’ll give you these on the day.

We’re only granting 30 ‘lucky’ people the opportunity to access this warm up event to the GYSC, so if you’re interested then fire us an email on so you don’t miss out, first come first served!

It’d be rude not to come down and test out your stairclimbing legs, so who’s up for the challenge?!


John Turner takes more than just himself up the stairs, another GYSC Champion!

As part of our GYSC Champions, we’re on the lookout for extraordinary people who are really pushing the boundaries when it comes to hitting the BWP stairwell. You’ve already heard about Dan McIntyre, a two-time cancer survivor who now uses a wheelchair to get around, now comes John Turner!

John and his wife Vicki had been trying for a baby for the past two years, and unfortunately weren’t successful on a number of occasions. Following various visits to their local hospital, they were told that treatment was available to them, but the catch was that before they could take advantage of it they both had to lose weight. As a personal trainer myself I know from professional experience that this is no easy process.

Vicki got the ball rolling by joining the gym, taking steps to improve her nutrition, and regularly took part in group exercise classes. John however was moving in the opposite direction, loving his take away food and too many beers. He needed to get some focus and fast!

Last January, Run for All events held a competition on their facebook page where there was a chance to win free entry into four of their events, as well as free personal training sessions with a local personal trainer. As well as this, the winners progress would be followed by the Yorkshire Post through regular articles, all John had to do was tell them why he wanted to lose weight.

He won the competition, and started to take advantage of the free sessions. The initial health assessment was a massive eye opener for John, having raised concerns about blood pressure and overall health. The excessive take away foods and beers had clearly left a heavy toll on his body, and were quickly advised to ditch these out of his nutrition. To this day, John hasn’t had a single take away, and his alcohol intake has been infrequent, he was clearly inspired!

His first ever event was the Sport Relief Mile in March this year. The sense of achievement that he felt following the event was massive for him, and the satisfaction was made that bit sweeter considering as little as a month earlier he wasn’t able to run at all.

John didn’t just want to complete the event, he wanted to show the world what he’d lost from the competition, and had a ridiculous idea to show it. He decided that to truly push himself, he’d carry all the weight that he’d lost in the process on the events, crazy I know!

The events that John has completed so far are:

  • Sport Relief mile
  • Peak District 5-mile walk (with a 10kg weight vest and two medicine balls in his rucksack!)
  • Carnegie 5k cross country race
  • Leeds 10k
  • York 10k (sub 1 hour 10k, goal completed!)
  • Yorkshire Dales 14 mile walk
  • Lake District 18 mile walk

John’s life has had a complete turn around; to have come so far in such a small amount of time is a true testament to the kind of character he is. He has a new lease of life, feeling the benefits of exercise and has been distilled with more energy than he has ever had before; he’s even converted the spare room of his house into a gym!

The running season is coming to an end pretty soon, and he plans to finish off the season with the Harewood 5 mile cross country race and the Leeds Abbey Dash in November. Once this is done, he’s got one week to transition his legs for the Great Yorkshire Stairclimb!

His total weight loss since the beginning of this epic journey is a whopping 5 stone 3lb, going from 21 stone 4lb to 16 stone 1lb. John has signed up for the Great Yorkshire Stairclimb already, and plans to run it carrying a 32kg weight vest, the exact weight that he’s lost since February. I for one can’t wait to see this man hit the stairs; it’s going to be a sight to see I’m sure, what an animal!

You can sponsor John here, get behind this athlete and watch his make even more progress.


John in action!

Yorkshire, all for one and one for all.

In your time of need, I’ve always found that people will help you out, and they’ll bend over backwards to see you succeed. It suddenly dawned on me last night whilst I was laid in bed that I’ve never actually thanked these guys in public for their continued support of the Great Yorkshire Stairclimb. So here goes, a post to show our appreciated for the event partners, without these guys we wouldn’t be here today, our very own Three Musketeers are…

Rushfirth Creative

I initially saw Howard and Kathy’s handy work when G-Rex Fitness sponsored Geoff Major and his trip to the North Pole earlier this year. I didn’t really know that much about them other than they specialised in branding (and amazing at it I might add!). The work that they produced for Geoff was exceptional, and I really liked the style that they brought, it had both a playful manner to it showing that it was meant to be fun, but it also showcased the challenge side of the expedition. Following this there was the Yorkshire Mafia Conference, a conference for business men and women to show the world what Yorkshire has to offer, and once again the Rushfirths were heavily involved, and I loved it!

It is for both of these reasons that we didn’t just want; we needed them involved with the Great Yorkshire Stairclimb! We were approached by a number of local businesses and organisations to work on the event, but as far as we were concerned there could be only one, Rushfirth Creative. You’ve seen the posters (or at least I hope you have!), you can see the banner on this page, all this was inspired by the husband and wife team. Aside from the event’s identity, they continue to support us with the event, plugging it where possible, and keeping the GYSC ideas flowing.

It couldn’t have been here without you guys, massive thank you.

The Yorkshire Mafia

The Yorkshire Mafia is a Yorkshire LinkedIn based networking group that I’ve been a part of for over a year now, and have seen both my knowledge and connections expand since joining. No amount of networking has served me quite as well as my membership to the group, having access to people who have been there and done it is invaluable. Since joining the group, I have been privileged enough to be take over the Yorkshire Mafia Young Guns group, a sub group which houses some of the best business minds under 30 years old. There are many things in the pipeline for this group, and if you’re not in it you need to be!

When we were first throwing around the idea of putting the event together, there was a major sticking point, bookings. There’s various websites out there that can offer this, but with this being a charity fundraiser, we didn’t want to outlay our donations on a booking system, which would mean many man-hours to manually input our data. I posted on the YM discussion board that we were after a booking system, Geoff Shepherd stepped in and offered us free use of theirs that they use for the networking evenings and the conference, happy days!

Without the Yorkshire Mafia getting involved, we would be pulling our hair out number crunching, or incurring massive costs. They’ve stepped in on something that was a pipe dream, seen the potential, and helped us drive it forward to the point we’re at now, expanding! Becky Black, events coordinator for the group has also joined the management team, and her knowledge and experience has helped us put together a solid sponsorship package as well.

Massive thank you to the guys, they took a punt on an idea and it’s getting bigger by the day!

Innovate Contract Furniture

As a personal trainer by trade, I’ve done a lot of work for this company since it’s creation. It’s a young, innovative company that is quickly emerging as a dominant force to be reckoned with in the world of shop, office and home outfitting! The company is owned and directed by my brother, John Butterfield, and as a brother, and a man who enjoys lifting heavy things, I’ve done a fair bit of laboring for him in the past. This has taken me all over the country, and if I play my cards right for one of his contracts, maybe even Monaco, keep your fingers crossed for me!

Innovate’s time on the GYSC hasn’t yet come to fruition other than plugging it for us where he can, Innovate will be providing the stage on the day where the warm up sessions will be taking place. Can you imagine being at an event, and not being able to see the guys leading the warm up? Neither can we, so Innovate have stepped in to donate their services on the day and save us from a logistical nightmare!

I’d like to send out a thank you in advance to Innovate Contract Furniture, the event would be a whole different story if it weren’t for your eventual involvement.

They always say that it’s not what you know; it’s who you know. I never thought that were true until I started working for myself, and it’s clear to see that if I didn’t know these people, the Great Yorkshire Stairclimb wouldn’t be taking place. Please take this opportunity to check out their websites, all market leaders in their fields. And if you haven’t booked on to the event yet, what are you waiting for?!


Dan McIntyre… the GYSC has its first champion!

Dan McIntyre is 35 years old, and has already seen more hardship than you would ever wish upon anybody. He’s a wheelchair user who finds it a challenge to walk short distances, has had kidney failure, and is a two-time cancer survivor.

Many people would have given up many years ago, but not Dan, with help from his fiancé and her three kids, this man stepped up against adversity, grabbed the bull by the horns, and knuckled down to fight it!

Over the past few years Dan has unfortunately been out of work, but has filled his time writing, volunteering for various charities (most notably Bradford Cancer Support and Airedale), and taking part in various challenges for charities to raise much needed funds.

“I’d rather try and fail than not bother trying at all and just accept what I’m told.”

Last year he did the Alps Challenge for Disabled Motoring UK, where he took a 1932 mobility trike the 1800 mile distance across the Swiss Alps, recreating the epic journey undertook by the trikes former owner back in 1947. He participated in the Leeds 5k as part of the Jane Tomlinson Run for All in aid of the Yorkshire Cancer Centre, taking him 80 minutes to complete. And this very same year, Dan zip wired from the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle, on the very same line that Bear Grylls used the previous day with the Olympic Torch. Anybody who can follow Bear Grylls has got to be cool, right?!

That sounds like one epic year! Here’s what Dan said about the GYSC…

“I reckon this will likely be the most demanding challenge I’ve undertaken in terms of physical effort.  As mentioned I’m a wheelchair user who can manage short distances (think back of car to front of car) with a pair of sticks.  I plan to try and do the stair climb on foot with my sticks but may end up on hands and knees.  Not very dignified but it gets the job done!”

We asked him, why would you do a challenge like this?

“Well my last round of treatment was carried out at the Bexley Wing of St James’, aka the Yorkshire Cancer Centre and the staff and facilities were first class, so it’s something I can do as a thank you really, trying to give something back”.

What is it that drives you to participate in these events?

“On a more personal level it is also a way of pushing myself, as that’s the only way for me to find out what’s possible and what I’m capable of. I’d rather try and fail than not bother trying at all and just accept what I’m told.  I have never been a sporty person but the Olympics and Paralympics have left me inspired, a few people have suggested I try out wheelchair basketball and maybe I will, I have tried out handcycling and enjoyed that, though I’m no Karen Darke!”

That is one truly inspirational man, and one that we welcome with open arms to compete in the GYSC. This is an event for all, and Dan is undoubtedly one of those who are the stars of the show.

We look forward to starting you off at the bottom of the Bridgewater Place steps Dan, and will have everything possible in place to ensure you get all the way to the top!


You can sponsor Dan by donating to his JustGiving page, why not get behind him and his challenge to show some support.

Here’s Dan zip wiring down the Tyne Bridge, Newcastle, one mad mofo!

The Great Yorkshire Stairclimb Website Goes Live!

Hello, and welcome to GYSC!

You’ve reached the home of Yorkshire’s tallest ever event, and you literally can’t get yourself any higher without taking your feet off the ground!

The view from floor 32-10

This event is the first of it’s kind in Leeds, and it couldn’t have started with a more spectacular building!

To celebrate the website going live, G-Rex Fitness are going to give the first person to register, and then each 10th person up to 100, a prize on the day. That’s 11 people getting something completely unique that can’t be matched anywhere else in the county! We aren’t going to tell you what it is yet, you’ll have to wait and see, but providing on the day we get the go ahead, you may need to wrap up warm…

New week, new you!

Like anything that is physical, it can all come as a challenge, and to be fair if you don’t find something challenging then you’re clearly not working hard enough! Anything worth having doesn’t come easy and all that jazz. Why not use the GYSC to kick start your travels down the road of good health?

G-Rex Fitness have been good enough to give all you stair runners some sound training advice to prepare yourself for the challenge to come. The smallest changes to your daily routine can get you the biggest benefits, and you don’t always need a gym membership to see differences. See Becoming Stairclimb Ready for some free advice, and of course you can get in touch with them at any time if you have any questions.