Suzy Walsham dashed up 1,576 steps to the 86th-floor observatory in the Empire State Building Run-Up on Wednesday night in 12 minutes and 30 seconds.
The men's race was won by German runner Christian Riedel, a first-time winner who came in at 10 minutes and 16 seconds.
The 38th annual tower climb was organized by NYCRUNS.
The participants came from around the world and were led by the elite women's and men's groups. The general field followed, with staggered, seconds-apart start times for racers to avoid a crush of people all trying to get into the stairwell at the same time.
Last year, Walsham won the women's event in 11 minutes and 57 seconds and Thorbjorn Ludvigsen, of Norway, won the men's race in 10 minutes and 6 seconds.
The course records are 9 minutes and 33 seconds for the men, set by Australian Paul Crake in 2003, and 11 minutes and 23 seconds for the women, set by Austrian Andrea Mayr in 2006.
German Thomas Dold holds the record for most men's victories, with seven.
The Empire State Building Run-Up is one of the most well-known tower climbs in the world.