Firefighters up for challenge
RACHAEL KELLY Waikaia’s hills are alive with the sound of firefighters huffing and puffing at the moment.
Four volunteers from the town’s brigade are preparing to take part in the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge in Auckland on Saturday.
They’ll tackle the building’s 51 flights of stairs, or 1103 individual steps, wearing their full firefighting kit which weighs 25kg.
With a lack of tall buildings to train in, firefighters Jamie Deans, Nigel Baldock, Scott McKee and Jake Sole have been taking to the hill country around the town to up their fitness in preparation for the annual fundraiser.
It will be the first time firefighters from the town’s brigade will take part in the climb and they’re hoping the lack of actual stair climbing won’t hinder them on the day.
Deans said it was a personal challenge for all of them and raising funds and awareness for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand was a bonus.
‘‘I started running about Christmas time and I’ve been doing a bit of hill walking and stuff like that.
‘‘We’re in for a bit of sweat and pain for about 15 to 20 minutes.
‘‘We just decided to give it a go. Other brigades do it so we thought we’d give it a crack.’’
The Waikaia brigade held a market day with raffles, an auction and a town workout led by Craze Studio fitness instructor Kaz Ansell.
Goldmining company Waikaia Gold donated gold nuggets to be auctioned and local woman Jacqui Burgess raised $800 by shaving off her hair.
The four firefighters have raised more than $9000 for the cause, which was ‘‘a pretty good effort for a small town’’, Deans said.
Last year 900 firefighters climbed to the top of the Sky Tower, which at 328 metres, is the tallest building in the southern hemisphere.