We’re climbing 56 flights of stairs, that’s 1058 steps ALL for an amazing cause that is very near and dear to my heart. Follow along as I climb (and get interviewed!). Want to support this incredible cause? Link https://action.lung.org/site/TR/Climb/ALAMA_Mid-Atlantic?px=7456693&pg=personal&fr_id=17683Posted by Najee Richardson on Saturday, March 30, 2019
As a National Fight For Air Climb Ambassador, American Ninja Warrior competitor Najee Richardson climbed 56 flights of stairs this past weekend in Philadelphia. The challenge was a fundraiser for the American Lung Association. The group reached out to Najee after he had an asthma attack on Stage Two of the National Finals last season, which contributed to him timing out on the Water Walls. As an Ambassador, Najee raises awareness for the work being done by the organization and fundraises for them.
To help pass the time on his climb, Najee brought along his friend Alexy Posner. They used it as a chance to get into Najee’s thoughts on Ninja Warrior, both last season and this upcoming year. It was surprisingly in-depth! We’d barely be able to squeak out a word during that climb and yet Najee was busy delving into his behind-the-scenes thoughts.
After sharing his motivation for being a part of this cause, Najee and Alexy dove into the Ninja Warrior-World.
How does he feel about the new first obstacle, the Striding Steps? He likes the change, saying it will, ““Make you go fast.”
“I feel like this new obstacle will see a lot of success.” He shared that the previous Floating Steps saw falls because people were thinking about them too much. The new obstacle, “Forces you to just go.”
What is he looking forward to in season 11? All the flying obstacles and all the new obstacles!
Looking back at Stage Two from season 10, was there anything he would have done differently? Not surprising, it all came down to how he would have approached the show’s first under water obstacle. “If I could do anything differently, once I got in the Water Walls, not panicking.” Najee pointed out that his fear of having an asthma attack might have helped bring it on in reality.
Is he preparing differently this year? What if the Water Walls are back again? Najee shared that he’s stepped up his training. “Not that I’m training differently. Just that I’m getting prepared sooner...That way when I get on the show, it should feel natural.”
When asked about a potential return to Stage Two, he pointed out that he’s already been back there once on the USA vs The World special, where he did beat the whole stage. He said he needs to, “Definitely not panic.” He’ll be looking to his confidence to keep him calm.
A fan watching the stair climb asked Najee who’d want to race head-to-head. He said Chris Wilczewski, who he calls his mentor. He laughed when asked about Drew Drechsel, saying Drew would 100% be faster than him.
The answers got a little shorter as they neared the top of their 56-floor climb. Najee brought up Drew, Joe Moravsky, Flip Rodriguez, and Mathis “The Kid” Owhadi when asked about the fastest Ninjas. He favorite obstacle is the Wingnuts. When he’s gassed on the course he reminds himself that he needs to give it his all. And he’s loving the entire soundtrack of “The Greatest Showman” as motivational music.
Najee and Alexy completed the climb in just about the 16 minutes they were aiming for. They closed out the live stream with Najee shying (smartly) away from answering if Akbar or Matt was his favorite host.
Judging by the fact that Najee can hold an entire, coherent conversation while climbing 56 flights up, we’re thinking his cardio and breath control is looking strong this season. He confirmed on Instagram that he’ll return to the course in the Baltimore region for season 11, which tapes April 28-29.