Wanaka fifth in Sky Tower challenge
NZ, Aust, US firefighters help to raise over $1m for blood cancer research
Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago firefighters have returned as heroes from the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge in Auckland on Saturday.
The challenge, in its 11th year, raised funds for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer (LBC) New Zealand.
This year over $1 million, up from $915,000 last year and $489,000 in 2013, was raised.
Teams and individuals were timed as they climbed 1103 steps to the top.
The Wanaka Fire Brigade had the top team finish of the two regions, placing fifth
Firefighter Vinny Holloway was the fastest team member with a time of 12:02min, which also earned him 14th spot overall.
Wanaka firefighter Glen Thurston, who could not compete because of injury, said ‘‘I think they all did great.’’
‘‘Just to finish the race is a huge achievement,’’ he said.
The Alexandra Fire Brigade team finished in 16th position with firefighter Simon Smith completing the climb in 10:02min, finishing fifth overall and second in the masters class. The Clyde Fire Brigade team finished in 38th position, Cromwell in 40th and Frankton in 69th.
Many firefighters, including from Queenstown, also competed as individuals.
The event attracted 750 participants from around New Zealand, Australia and the United States, who raced up 51 flights, or 1103 steps, in full firefighting kit (weighing 25kg).
A special squad of nonfirefighters took part including Seven Sharp presenter Nadine Chalmers-Ross and Sky Sports commentator and former New Zealand Netballer Adine Wilson.
SkyCity chief executive Nigel Morrison said ‘‘not only has this event become the pinnacle fundraising challenge for the firefighting community around New Zealand, we deliver incredible results for LBC helping them support Kiwi families in need’’.
‘‘The Sky Tower is an incredible structure and to see it used in this way is so inspiring.
‘‘Every year we are astounded but the commitment of the firefighters and their communities to help raise money for LBC,’’ Morrison said.
The Wanaka Fire Brigade team which competed in the Sky Tower Challenge on Saturday and placed fifth overall.