Bets are being placed as to who will make it to the top of the Auckland Sky Tower first on Saturday, May 19 – volunteer firefighter Craig Macdonald, or his sons James and Cameron.
All three volunteer at Manly Fire Brigade and are taking part in the annual Sky Tower Stair Challenge – a race up the Sky Tower’s 51 floors wearing full firefighting kit to raise funds for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer NZ.
Craig, aged 54, seems to be the odds-on favourite and he is confident that experience – this will be his fourth Sky Tower Challenge – will prevail, although Cameron, the youngest, is also the fittest. Last year Craig beat James, 20, to the top by three minutes. This is the first Sky Tower Challenge for 19-year-old Cameron, who joined the volunteer brigade in 2016.
Craig says that being with his sons in the brigade has its downside – he says some of the call outs they have been to means his boys have grown up very quickly.
However, he says they have a lot of fun together. “Both of them do an amazing job as part of an exceptional team,” he says.
The brothers share a “good natured and healthy rivalry”, which is one reason that James is training for the challenge in secret, while Cameron and Craig largely train together utilising the 126 stairs at Tindalls Bay and Fitter Faster Stronger gym.
Last year the Manly Brigade raised around $3000 and they want to more than triple that, so Cameron has instigated a new fundraising challenge – the team of eight Manly firefighters taking on the Sky Tower (including the Macdonalds) will walk in full gear from Army Bay to Coast Plaza on May 5, and from Coast Plaza to Silverdale Mall on May 12.
They will be collecting donations along the route, and supporters are welcome to join the walk.
To donate, visit firefightersclimb.org.nz and search for Manly Skywalkers, or look for Manly Skywalkers on Facebook.