Skip links

The first ever 2023 SF Stair Challenge: stories, photos, and gratitude

 In Uncategorized

Could a little rain dampen our spirits? Certainly not for participants of the first ever SF Stair Challenge! Despite the morning showers, over 300 brave souls showed up ready to conquer the 4-mile trek and face the formidable 2,000 steps scattered across North Beach, Russian Hill, and Telegraph Hill. It was one epic day for the books.

A route worth every step

The Challenge took participants on a whirlwind tour up and down some of the City’s best and infamously steep stairways, leaving them breathless, literally and figuratively. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, the route had it all. Even long-time residents were amazed, discovering corners of their own neighborhoods they never knew existed. It turns out, you don’t need a magic lamp to find treasure in San Francisco – you just need a sturdy pair of shoes and a thirst for adventure!

We are so grateful to WalkLab, the team of volunteers who craft all of our walks, including Peak2Peak and the quarterly member walks. Learn more about Nancy Botkin, who was the lead in creating the 2023 SF Stair Challenge, plus get ideas for more stair walks.

From weighted vests to Humboldt heroes

Our stair-climbing crew was as diverse as the City itself. We had it all – from families with infants in backpacks to groups of friends catching up on the trail, and even a team of athletes sporting weighted vests. One intrepid couple caught wind of our event on the news and journeyed all the way down from Humboldt County. And we can’t forget the participant who went back for seconds and ran the course again! Hats off to the resilience and determination of each and every stair slayer out there — especially Joe Creitz who was the first to complete the route and did it in record time (1:01:00)!

SF Stair Challenge 2023 Photos

Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 4, 2024!

The response to our first ever SF Stair Challenge was incredible, so we’re already planning the next one. Save the date for the 2nd annual SF Stair Challenge on Saturday, May 4, 2024! We’re planning a whole new, top secret route in a different part of the city that is sure to make your quads tremble with anticipation. And we’re looking for corporate sponsors for 2024, so reach out to Guy at to learn more. We guarantee it’ll be even better than the first one!

You powered our work for safe streets

It was easy to forget while climbing stairs that every day, an average of three people are hit while walking in San Francisco. Walk SF exists to change this, and all ticket purchases go directly to our work to make our streets truly safe for everyone who walks, of every age and ability!

It takes a village for a small nonprofit to put on big walks like this

We owe a huge and heartfelt thank you to our amazing team of event volunteers who braved the elements, checked in participants with smiles, cheered them along the route, kept everyone powered up with snacks, and got our base camp set up and broken down, likety-split. You all rock!

Special shout-outs go to our WalkLab volunteers, especially Nancy Botkin and Eric Chase, the masterminds behind the spectacular route that left us all in awe.

We also send our appreciation to our fantastic in-kind sponsors: Andronico’s Community Markets, Arizmendi Bakery, HOP WTR, OCHO Candy, Other Avenues, Safeway, Sunset Penguins, and Trader Joe’s. Thank you Nancy Beam for your help getting this delicious support!

And finally, we’re deeply grateful to our sponsors for their incredibly generous support of Walk SF’s events.

Questions about the SF Stair Challenge or any of Walk SF’s events or membership? Contact Guy at

Volunteers gathering before doing a walk audit of Lincoln Way