Gruelling weekend challenge for firefighters

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Ashburton firefighters Nick Rattray (left) and Geoffrey Barr. Photo: Supplied
Ashburton firefighters Nick Rattray (left) and Geoffrey Barr. Photo: Supplied
Canterbury firefighters Geoffrey Barr and Nick Rattray will take on the Firefighters Sky Tower Challenge this Saturday.

Barr and Rattray will be among six other firefighters from the Ashburton area to participate in the challenge.

The Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand fundraiser will involve climbing the Sky Tower in Auckland in the quickest time possible while fully kitted up in firefighting gear.

The challenge is now in its 20th year.

Barr has been a firefighter for 10 years and this will be his first time entering.

‘‘I’ve been wanting to do the challenge for a while,’’ he said.

He is jumping in boots and all to participate in the gruelling Man of Steel section.

This involves climbing 1300 stairs, or 60 flights, while wearing fire a breathing apparatus which weighs 30kg and his uniform.

‘‘I aim to complete the climb in 30 minutes,’’ Barr said.

Barr has been training three hours a week on the stair climb at EA Networks in Ashburton to prepare for the climb.

He has already surpassed his fundraising goal of $750. His total was $3191 last week.

Rattray, who has been a firefighter for three years, said this would be his third climb.

He said it was a fun event, and he remembers the great views from the top of the tower.

Rattray is in the main section, which will involve 1103 steps, up 51 flights of stairs, while wearing a 25kg BA and uniform.

‘‘I am aiming to do it in under 15 minutes,’’ Rattray said.

‘‘My training has really only involved biking up Mt Hutt,’’ Rattray said.

His fundraising total early this week was $560.

Climbers begin in the Sky Tower basement and set off at one-minute intervals.

Those who raise over $1500 are automatically offered a spot in the following year's climb.

Over its 20-year history, the climbs have raised $14.6 million for charity.

Not only is there a physical and mental cost for those taking part but they also pay their own airfares and accommodation.

  • Support the Firefighters Skytower Challenge at firefighterschallenge.org.nz

-By Dellwyn Moylan