MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A vertical climb of 1,576 steps—86 flights—is no match for a Miami resident who willed her way to the top of the Empire State Building in the name of autism.

Melinda Mizrachi participated in the 38th annual Empire State Building Run-Up Wednesday night.

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Mizrachi's view from the ground ahead of her race. "I'm freaking out," she said. But she accepted the challenge and succeeded--all part of the message she wants to share with her son and others.

Mizrachi’s view from the ground ahead of her race. “I’m freaking out,” she said. But she accepted the challenge and succeeded–all part of the message she wants to share with her son and others. (Source: Melinda Mizrachi)

Before the race started, Mizrachi looked up from the ground to the top of the iconic New York building—a site which she admits freaked her out.

But taking one step at a time, Mizrachi made it to the top.

“It was the hardest thing I have ever done,” Mizrachi, a distance runner for almost two years, said after completing the climb. “The altitude really takes your breath away.”

Mizrachi had aimed at finishing the race in 40 minutes, but she surpassed her goal, crossing the finish line in a total of 34 minutes.

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 why she wanted to make it to the top.

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The Miami mother embraced the vertical challenge in honor of her 10-year-old son, Jonathan, who has autism.

“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.

READ: Miami Woman Will Climb 86 Flights In The Name Of Autism

Without necessarily knowing it, Mizrachi became an ambassador in the race to the top for mothers of children with autism—an added weight that actually helped her up the 86 flights.

The race was just another chance for Mizrachi to show her son, and other mothers and children, that limits can sometimes be merely an illusion.

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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.”