Zoe Sinclair, Rob Brown and Emily Abbot [left to right] training for the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge on Saturday. PHOTO/ELI HILL

Camaraderie key in climb

ELI HILL
eli.hill@age.co.nz

A trio of Martinborough firefighters are preparing to take on New Zealand’s tallest building, clad in 25kg of equipment

Emily Abbot, Rob Brown and Zoe Sinclair will take part in the Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge on Saturday, climbing all 1103 stairs of the Sky Tower to raise money for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.

Career firefighter Rob Brown, who is going into his third stair challenge, and said it was a test made specifically for firefighters.

“You need to be in the physical form of a firefighter to do it and the challenge attracts firefighters from right around the world.

“You’re running with mask on and you’re trying to do it on one air cylinder, so you’ve got that in the back of your mind.

“When you get across the finish line you hear the beep and they help you off with your gear it’s sort of a relief.”

Brown said Martinborough was a generous community and the trio had managed to raise around $1200 with more money still to come in.

As part of preparations they have been training at Facing Giants CrossFit in Martinborough.

Sinclair, going into her second challenge, has attended trainings daily.

Also a career firefighter, she supplements this with workouts on a stair climber at the gym while wearing a weight vest.

“I’ve never felt my lungs pull that much air in my life,” Sinclair said, recalling her first time doing the challenge.

“But it’s really rewarding especially when you get to the top and you see your mates. It’s pretty special and you’re doing it for the kids, so even when you feel like giving up you just think about what these children have gone through for us to be there.”

Abbot, who volunteers in the Martinborough brigade, said the challenge was a great way to support Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand, which receives no government funding.

Among her strategies for the climb is to wear two pairs of socks to make sure her boots don’t slip off.

She is also looking forward to the camaraderie of the event.

“When people pass you on the stairs, they high five you and everyone’s cheering on each other.”

This year 1000 firefighters, or 10 per cent of New Zealand’s fire service, are participating and are on track to hit a $1 million fundraising target.