Fire­fight­ers step up to chal­lenge

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

What’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween a fire­fighter and boil-in-the-bag rice?

Noth­ing when the fire­fighter is run­ning up 50 flights of stairs, ac­cord­ing to the Plim­mer­ton Vol­un­teer Fire Brigade.

Nine fire­fight­ers from the unit will run up the Sky Tower in their 25 kilo­gram uni­forms in the an­nual Sky Tower Chal­lenge leukaemia fundraiser on May 19. It is the first time the brigade has par­tic­i­pated in the event.

Train­ing is hot work, with the fire­fight­ers steam­ing in­side their over­alls.

‘‘Just imag­ine, these suits are made to keep the heat out,’’ Plim­mer­ton vol­un­teer Toby Wootton says.

The brigade has been train­ing by run­ning up of­fice blocks in Welling­ton, but even the Ma­jes­tic Cen­tre is only 29 sto­ries high, so the team has to pause their train­ing to get down­stairs again.

Their lat­est idea is to run the full 1103 steps on a stairmaster at the gym.

All this train­ing ben­e­fits the fire­fight­ers for their vol­un­teer work, vol­un­teer Fenn Lang­bein says.

‘‘It makes you that much fit­ter for the job as well and it brings the brigade to­gether as a team.’’

The hard work is worth it to raise funds for leukaemia suf­fer­ers, he says.

‘‘ It’s a great cause, so it’s some­thing we’re happy to throw our weight be­hind. It af­fects a lot of peo­ple.’’

Plim­mer­ton brigade has so far raised half its $5000 tar­get.

Ti­tahi Bay Vol­un­teer Fire Brigade, mean­while, is the coun­try’s top fundrais­ing brigade, with $7700 col­lected so far.

Vol­un­teer fire­fighter Kurt Walsh says $2200 of its funds came from a gen­er­ous do­na­tion from the Porirua Club.

This is the sec­ond year Ti­tahi Bay brigade has en­tered the Sky Tower Chal­lenge and has dou­bled its train­ing af­ter strug­gling at last year’s race.

‘‘We’re putting in a lot more train­ing. We sort of went in un­pre­pared last year.’’

The six Ti­tahi Bay en­trants are train­ing to­gether three or four times a week and also hit­ting the gym in­di­vid­u­ally.

They be­gan by run­ning up Colo­nial Knob and now run up the 11- storey BNZ Tower in Porirua cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict five times in sev­eral in­tense 15-minute train­ing ses­sions per week.

Each Ti­tahi Bay en­trant aims to fin­ish the Sky Tower Chal­lenge in un­der 15 min­utes – last year none did, Mr Walsh says.

To spon­sor the Plim­mer­ton brigade, visit pvfb. org. nz. To spon­sor the Ti­tahi Bay brigade, visit fire­fight­er­sclimb. org. nz/ view_­group_even­t_pro­file/173.

Stair mas­ters: Plim­mer­ton vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers Jon Knee­bone and Toby Wootton are train­ing at Arena Fit­ness Cen­tre for their first Sky Tower Chal­lenge in May, where they will run up 51 flights of stairs to raise funds for leukaemia re­search.

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