Larry Hennis

Birthdate: 6 September 1956

What is your occupation? Support Staff at MN State University Mankato

What/when was your first climb? ALA Minneapolis – Feb.22, 2014

How many climbs have you completed? 10

Why/how did you start? When playing Facebook games people pick up friends from all over the world. In the fall of 2013 a post appeared in my news feed from an Australian friend telling the world that she was about to do the Eureka Tower stair climb. She said there would be a photo link for the start and finish of the race and we could watch the climbers. I clicked the live link to the finish line and watched young and old, skinny and fat, male and female – well, you name it, and that was the person crossing the finish line. I posted some (smart-ass) comment like “I would do that.” Miraculously a post appeared in my feed and she said “Here’s one in your area – go do it!”

The climb was the ALA Fight For Air Minneapolis. Always up for a challenge, I accepted. The date was February 22, 2014 – which just happened to be two years to the day from the date of my wife Brandi’s death. I would do it to honor her memory. I had a button made with Brandi’s photo on it and wore it the day of the climb so she and I could do the climb together. The first year I did the climb with very little actual stair training and finished the 682 steps in 7:44. I did it the next year in 5:42; this year my time was 5:09.

I have since made some changes to my diet, kept up the climbing, dropped almost 25 pounds, and am happier and healthier for doing it. I plan to continue the ALA Minneapolis climb as a way to honor my wife’s memory until, for whatever reason, I am no longer able to do it.

I climb in memory of my wife Brandi, who died of cancer in 2012

Do you have a favorite climb? Why? ALA Minneapolis to honor my wife’s memory

Least favorite climb? Why? No real least favorite, but Willis (pronounced “Sears”) Tower is grueling.

Why do you climb? It’s a great way to keep cardio fit and keep in general overall good shape

Are there other sports you’re passionate about? Not really, but I’m now in High Intensity Interval Training classes at my gym and I’m loving that because it works other parts of the body that stairs alone do not.

Did you have injuries or issues you needed to overcome to climb? Years ago I did running/triathlons but cartilage tears in both knees forced me to give up running of any kind. The low impact aspect of stair climbing is a godsend for a former runner.

How do you train? I live in the middle of nowhere where a three or four story building is a tall building so I train by doing many reps on short stairwells and by attacking the stair machine at my gym.

Do you have a special relationship with any of your step-siblings?  I don't really have any special relationships with my step family because I live in a rural area and only see my step sibs in person at events. I do message with a few regularly via the FB stair climbing pages, but that's about it.

Who inspires you? My late wife – in probably more ways than anyone knows.

Do you have a good luck charm or any superstitions or pre-race rituals?  Nope – just go do it!

What's on your iPod during workouts/competitions? I don’t use one – I like to hear what’s going on around me.

Do you have a website or blog for those interested in learning more about you? Just a FB page – send friend request if interested.

If we had numbers on our jerseys, what would your number be? A low number is good, but any number means I’m registered and able to do the climb!

What would you like to tell others about yourself and your experience with stair climbing that might inspire them in their lives? It’s a great workout and the people you meet are fantastic. It becomes like an extension of your family and people very supportive, friendly, and helpful.