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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Running up thousands of steps is not something most would just opt for–especially so if a less-than-60 second elevator ride will carry you to the same destination.

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But for Miami resident Melinda Mizrachi, running up New York’s Empire State Building, a total of 1,576 steps, is just another challenge she willingly–albeit nervously–accepts.

“I’ve been dreaming of stairs,” Mizrachi, slightly sleep-deprived and giddy said just a couple days ahead of the race.

A total of 500 people, from all over the world, are set to take part in the 38th annual Empire State Building Run-Up Wednesday, Feb. 4th at 8 p.m.

Mizrachi picked up running almost two years ago and has since garnered her fair share of half-marathon and other race medals. While she admits the vertical race is a whole different ball game, she embraces the challenge in the name of her 10-year-old son, Jonathan, who has autism.

Mizrachi, whose husband is a CBS4 employee, was invited to the race, but in order to participate she had to write an essay stating not only a reason, but a purpose for her participation.

Mizrachi made a shirt she will way during her climb to the top of the ESR. (Source: Melinda Mizrachi)

Mizrachi made a shirt she will wear during her climb to the top of the ESR. (Source: Melinda Mizrachi)

“I am doing it with a purpose and a cause greater than a bucket list. I am doing this for my son and those with autism,” she said.

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Without necessarily knowing it, Mizrachi became an ambassador in the race for mothers of children with autism—an added weight she’ll carry up all 86 flights.

The elite runners, the fastest of the bunch, will likely make it to the top of the building in about 10 minutes. Mizrachi hopes to finish it in 40 minutes.

“I want to back up my story,” Mizrachi said. “Autism doesn’t mean you and your child’s life is different or over–it’s a way of approaching life how you still wish to.  In the case of our family, we are living life to the fullest!”

The run-up, which she plans on documenting by wearing a camera, is just another way for Mizrachi to show her son, and other mothers and children, that limits can sometimes be merely an illusion.

Jonathan, at 4:30 a.m., at his mother's race, holds a sign in support of his mother. (Source: Melinda Mizrachi)

Jonathan, at 4:30 a.m., at his mother’s race, holds a sign in support of his mother. (Source: Melinda Mizrachi)

Jonathan, who will turn 11 this month, has participated alongside his mother in other races. She said he enjoys collecting medals and it motivates him to stay healthy. Usually Jonathan is on the sidelines of his mother’s races, but because of school, he won’t be able to attend Wednesday’s high-rise feat.

Even though Jonathan won’t be in the Big Apple, Mizrachi just wants to send her son, and others, a message.

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“Life is not an elevator ride up to the top, however it’s one step at a time–even if its 86 flights, 1,576 steps,” she said. “It is not how fast you are but that you try, and try to get to the top in order to succeed in life.”