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.