1100 steps in un­der 10 min­utes


A Queen­stown fire­fighter did not ‘‘muck around’’ when he climbed the Sky Tower in un­der 10 min­utes.

Queen­stown Air­port Fire Res­cue’s Gavin Ma­son climbed over 1100 stairs in 9 min­utes and 54 sec­onds to be­come the fourth fastest to con­quer the tower dur­ing the Fire­fighter Sky Tower Stair Chal­lenge on Satur­day.

It was Ma­son’s sec­ond time par­tic­i­pat­ing in the chal­lenge, which raises funds for the Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand Foun­da­tion. Ma­son wanted to beat his pre­vi­ous time and set a ’’per­sonal chal­lenge’’.

‘‘I wasn’t go­ing up there to muck around. I was go­ing there to give my full hun­dred per cent,’’ he said.

‘‘The first year you do it you don’t have any pre-con­ceived per­cep­tions and you don’t have a time you aim for.’’

Fire­fight­ers have to wear their full kit and breath­ing ap­pa­ra­tus, weigh­ing up to 25 kilo­grams, dur­ing the climb.

‘‘It’s like a very short­ened ver­sion of an Iron Man,’’ Ma­son said.

Breath­ing through the ap­pa­ra­tus was a chal­lenge in it­self, as he fin­ished the com­pe­ti­tion on the last breath of air avail­able.

‘‘You of­ten see a few peo­ple land­ing a few breaths with­out mov­ing, just try­ing to re­cover. And there’s gen­er­ally guys who are ab­so­lutely push­ing it – when they get to the top they have about five peo­ple ready to catch them as they come across the line.’’

Man­iototo Area School year 13 stu­dent An­ton Hood was at the top of Sky Tower in 15 min­utes.

The Naseby Fire Bri­gade vol­un­teer said he was ‘‘chuffed’’ to com­plete the chal­lenge for the first time, al­though he wished he had bet­ter re­sults.

‘‘When you get to the 40th floor your lungs are burn­ing and you just know you got to keep push­ing and push­ing,’’ he said.

The 17-year-old had planned to com­plete the chal­lenge last year, but was too young.

Hood raised over $1980 for the Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand Foun­da­tion and na­tion­wide, fire­fight­ers raised over $1.2 mil­lion.

Wanaka fire­fighter Pete Small­field came 19th, com­plet­ing the chal­lenge in 11 min­utes and 39 sec­onds – 10 sec­onds faster than col­league Plinio Nanato. Frank­ton Fire Bri­gade vol­un­teer Cameron Steele fin­ished in 13 min­utes, while James Har­ris came in at 15 min­utes 7 sec­onds, and Lina Whit­more fin­ished in 21 min­utes and 46 sec­onds.


Gavin Ma­son came fourth in the 2017 Fire­fighter Sky Tower Stair Chal­lenge.

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