Wanaka fifth in Sky Tower chal­lenge

NZ, Aust, US fire­fight­ers help to raise over $1m for blood can­cer re­search

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By CHE BAKER

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.

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