Despite a lack of appropriate training spots in Oamaru, Weston Volunteer Brigade firefighter Kylie Stanton and her colleagues are fired up for the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge on May 19.
She will be joined up the Auckland landmark’s 51 flights of stairs, made up of 1103 steps, by fellow Weston firefighters Bernie Miller, Josh Lee and Nick Parsons.
Mrs Stanton, Mr Lee and Mr Parsons will contest the donned and started category, which means they will wear full firefighting gear and use a breathing apparatus.
Mr Miller will compete in the masters category.
Mrs Stanton, who joined the Weston brigade about seven years ago, completed the challenge for the first time last year in a time of 18min 14sec.
She said it was as tough as she imagined, and expected more of the same this year.
“It’s an awesome experience and a really, really tough challenge .. I knew it wasn’t going to be a game of tiddlywinks.
“It’s a cause really close to our hearts and we feel privileged to be able to compete and fundraise as a firefighter for it.”
The group has put in plenty of training, even though Oamaru does not have an abundance of buildings with enough stairs for training.
“A lot of it is cardio work. Some of us go to the gym and use the stair machine and the rowing machine, for example.
“I like getting out and about, so I’ve used the Ngapara hill quite a lot, running up and down that, and a lot of vertical tramping. I pick a really, really steep hill and go up it.”
She said the goal was to get to the top of the Sky Tower “without dying” in what was a challenge for not only the body, but also the mind.
“You put all of the preparation into the physical side .. but you get halfway and that gives out. You’re left getting yourself to the top, really.”
Support of family and friends also helped.
Mrs Stanton’s husband will cheer her on this year, as he did last year with their two children.
“Our families provide and sacrifice a lot for us to be able to be a firefighter and we love them for it.”
Two firefighters from the Waimate Volunteer Fire Brigade – Mark Joyce and Andrew McKenzie – have also entered.
The challenge is held each year to raise money for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.
More than $1.25 million was raised last year.