MP steps up for firefighter race
One step at a time just doesn’t seem quite enough for Auckland Central’s energetic new MP.
Instead Nikki Kaye will be tackling 1100 stairs tomorrow morning as she puts her best foot forward for the annual Firefighter Sky Tower Challenge.
The 28-year-old will be ditching her corporate suit in exchange for 25kg of firefighting gear as she joins more than 60 brigades and volunteer brigades in their bid to raise money for the Leukaemia and Blood Foundation.
Now in its sixth year, the event is an intense cardio challenge even for the fit firefighters.
Ms Kaye, who won the Auckland Central seat from longstanding MP Judith Tizard in November, says it’s going to be a huge challenge.
“It’s going to be interesting,” she says.
“I’m just going to take it one step at a time.”
Although she says her philosophy for the event is to be a “completer more so than a competer”, Ms Kaye is far from inexperienced when it comes to physical challenges.
She completed the Coast to Coast race last year, followed by the Auckland half marathon in November and the Waiheke Wharf to Wharf race in January.
Although she says she’s not feeling in peak form at the mo- ment, she’s hoping a few practise runs up College Hill this week would have helped prepare her.
Since it began in 2003, the event has become a highly competitive race, not only for the fastest time up the tower but for the most money raised.
Online fundraising for the event sparks keen competition, with brigades secretly stockpiling donations to mislead their rivals.
The race will start at 6.30am, with teams leaving every 30 seconds.
In past years the fastest have completed the 51 flights of the tower in under 10 minutes.
Last year 58 brigades took part, raising $94,000 and the record looks set to be broken in tomorrow’s challenge.
Leukaemia and Blood Foundation executive director Pru Etcheverry says the organisation is hugely appreciative that the brigades find the time to compete in the challenge, despite hectic schedules and months of mental and physical training.
“They are truly our heroes and remarkable members of their communities.”
Ms Kaye says when she was approached by the SkyCity organisers to compete in the challenge she didn’t hesitate to support the cause.
“The thing I like about the Leukaemia and Blood Foundation is that it’s really handson.
“The focus is on supporting the families.”
Tall order: Nikki Kaye will be attempting the gruelling race up the Sky Tower tomorrow.