Runners climbing the first section of Jacob’s Ladder
By Trent Sharpe
If you didn’t feel lazy enough already, consider the amazing dedication of fitness enthusiasts who are up every morning at dawn to tackle the challenge that is Jacob’s Ladder.
The staircase was originally built in 1909 with 274 jarrah steps to cover the 43-metre climb up Mount Eliza, more commonly known as Kings Park.
As the original staircase didn’t have any side railings, anyone who tripped over may have tumbled all to the bottom.
It wasn’t until 1961 that it was closed to the public and then reconstructed with 242 concrete steps and side railings to prevent serious injury.
Jacob’s Ladder was closed again after being damaged by a landslide during Perth’s destructive billion dollar storm in March of 2010, and reopened in June the same year.
Henry Deakin, 35, runs up and down Jacob’s Ladder at least four times every morning before work.
“It’s difficult,” Mr Deakin said, panting. “But I couldn’t go a day without doing Jacob’s.”
Mr Deakin said that the hardest part is going down the stairs after you’ve just gone up.
“Your legs feel like jelly, and you’re worried that they’re going to buckle on the way down.”
Some runners combine Jacob’s Ladder with the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk, a tribute to the Australian troops who fought in Papua New Guinea in 1942.
The track consists of 150 steps over an incline of 62 metres.
Tim Eyers, 23, says it’s almost as difficult as Jacob’s Ladder due to the rough terrain and lack of safety rails.
“At least Jacob’s Ladder has handrails for you to pull yourself up,” said Mr Eyers.
Some residents who live on the bluff of Mount Eliza aren’t happy about the runners, complaining that they are often loud at early hours in the morning.
As a result, the Perth City Council restricts organised fitness activities to run any earlier than eight in the morning.
“Fair enough though,” said Mr Deakin. “I wouldn’t want to be woken up by huffing and puffing either.”