Stair climbers need pizza lovers to back cause
Climbing 51 flights of stairs is not the lot of the average Wanakonian, who would be hard pressed to find more than three consecutive flights anywhere in the village.
Eight Wanaka volunteer fire fighters have put their hands up for the 1103-step mission at Auckland’s 328m-high Sky Tower in May, to raise funds for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.
It is the 11th anniversary of the climb modelled on the famed Seattle climb in the US, and last year brigades raised $915,000 for the charity.
Team captain Glen Thurston formed the Wanaka team in November.
Thurston, a fitness trainer, is putting five team members through their paces at his gym.
He intends to cut out three marathons in February in support of Mal Law’s High-50 campaign (50 marathons in 50 days).
Other team members are also running marathons, except brigade secretary Ralph Fegan who will attend the event as ‘‘ camp dad’’.
‘‘I’ve tried to get him training, but he said ‘Bugger that’,’’ Thurston said.
Thurston hopes the team will be doing the climb on the back of at least 6000 pizzas, but they won’t be eating them – or at least, not all of them.
That’s where the average Wanakonian can assist the cause and take part in the brigade’s pizza fundraiser, Thurston said.
Last year, Thurston’s Sky Tower team raised about $3000 for the charity and this year, they want to up the ante and raise $12,000 to secure spots for all eight squad members.A three-person Wanaka team finished fourth last in the climb, with Thurston the fifth fastest individual overall, with a personal best of 10 minutes 18 seconds.
Doing the tower on pizza: From left, Wanaka Volunteer Fire Brigade members with Francesca’s owners: Alex Pereira, Glen Thurston, James Stapley (Francesca’s), Mark Strang, Jodie Rainsford, Belinda Stapley (Francesca’s), Allan Carmichel, Ardouin Baker, Jimmy Connolly, Justin Stowell, Ralph Fegan.