Sisters Shannon and Jesse-Wayne Te Amo carry each other to ramp up the training.
Fire fighters from Leigh, Wellsford, Kaiwaka and Warkworth brigades are all in training for this year’s Sky Tower Stair Challenge on May 13.
Over 900 fire fighters will don full breathing apparatus and over 25kg of gear before tackling 51 flights of stairs as fast as humanly possible to raise funds for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand (LBC).
Wellsford fire fighter Shane Baker is training for his seventh climb. He says mixing cardio and strength training is crucial, but ultimately it’s mental toughness that counts on the day.
“When you get about a third of the way up it gets real tough, you’re out of breath and that’s when it starts messing with your mind,” Shane says.
Personal trainer and Warkworth brigade volunteer, Tania Wood, is attempting the climb for the first time. Although daunted by the prospect of climbing the tallest building in the southern hemisphere, her biggest fear is running out of gas.
“I want to get to the top on one cylinder. If you’re not fit enough, or fast enough, you’re breathing apparatus will run dry,” Tania says.
Fire fighting sisters Shannon, 18, and Jesse-Wayne Te Amo, 20, have been training on the Mangawhai cliff top walkway. They take turns carrying each other on their backs.
“We both want to beat our Dad’s time. He did it a few years ago and we are determined to do it faster,” Shannon says.
Wellsford’s Matt Railey will be hauling his 6’4” frame up the 1103 stairs. Last year he attempted to take them two at a time.
“It’s a gut-buster. The first thing I saw when I arrived last year was a fire fighter being taken out on a stretcher, double stepping kills you,” Matt says.
Last year’s event raised $1.16 million for LBC. Auckland-based fire fighter Josh Harrison achieved the fastest time of 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Warkworth currently leads the local brigade fundraising tally, with over $4000.
To donate visit: firefightersclimb.org.nz
Leukaemia and Blood Cancer
- Every day six children and adults in New Zealand are diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma or a related blood condition.
- Blood cancers combined (leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma) are the fifth most common form of cancer in New Zealand
- Leukaemia is the most common childhood cancer while lymphoma is the most common cancer in 15-24 year olds.
- The cause of blood cancers is unknown.
- These diseases can strike anyone, of any age, at any time, without warning.
- Immediate treatment may be necessary and that treatment can go on for months or even years.
- There are an estimated 10,000 people living with blood cancer or a related condition in New Zealand.