CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s almost time for the Hustle up the Hancock, and this year, the Respiratory Health Association hopes to raise more than $1 million for local lung disease research and programs.

As CBS 2’s Derrick Young reports, members of the First Nonprofit Insurance Company team came together and shared some of their training tips for the climb.

Climbing up the stairs can be a matter of life and death. Mary McDaniel, one of 12 members of the First Nonprofit Insurance team, is proud to be raising funds for the Respiratory Health Association. She also has a special purpose.

“I’m climbing for my friend Pam,” McDaniel said. “She battled acute respiratory distress syndrome, and came out on the other side, and she’s actually one of our teammates, and is doing the full climb with us this year.”

And that’s not easy.

“I like to start off nice and easy, and kind of get warmed up and acclimated to the stairs, and then kind of go into it full force,” said teammate Colin Tinley.

With less than a month ago, many of those hustling up the Hancock are in full training mode, and there is a science to it – such as deciding whether or not to use the handrail, or to take single or double steps.

Plenty of the hustlers just hope to finish. They have a choice of 52 or 94 floors.

But Tinley has chosen to do 94 floors in 15 minutes.

“I just can’t think about the pain; just keep on going,” he said.

Another teammate said he planned just to “get into gear and kind of pace myself; I don’t want to start out too fast.”

That’s not an easy thing to do when the competition heats up. But when climbers reach the top, there are some big rewards.

“Probably just taking the rest of the day off and just enjoying it,” Tinley said.

“Definitely doughnuts,” McDaniel said.

“Eat something good; enjoy the view,” another teammate said.

Hustle up the Hancock is coming up on Feb. 27, and spots are still available for the CBS 2 Half-Climb and for Lung Health Champions full climb. To register, click here.

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