Firefighters train for challenge

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 21/04/2014
PN firefighters
GRANT MATTHEW/Fairfax NZ

HARD TASK: Feilding firefighters, from left, Caleb Gardner, Jonathon Bunn and Daniel Pinfold, walk the wrong way up an escalator in Downtown on Broadway Ave, Palmerston North, as a fundraiser for the Leukaemia and Blood Foundation.

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Hours of hauling fire-fighting gear up a downward-moving staircase hasn't tired a team of Feilding firefighters from their fundraising efforts - they're doing it all again this week.

Volunteer firefighters Caleb Gardner, Jonathon Bunn and Daniel Pinfold spent two hours on Saturday walking the wrong way up an escalator in Downtown on Broadway Ave, Palmerston North, and they'll be doing it again this Saturday.

Gardner and Bunn are taking part in next month's Auckland Sky Tower Challenge - an annual event that sees about 700 fully-kitted firefighters from around the country racing up 51 flights, or 1103 steps, to raise funds for the Leukaemia and Blood Foundation.

The pair convinced their colleague Pinfold to come along for the escalator training sessions to provide moral support.

The trio were laden with more than 25 kilograms of fire-fighting kit, including boots, breathing apparatus and an air tank, as they tried to trudge up the escalator.

They would tag in and out after 10-minute stints, so as not to tire, and were quick to discover how much hard work it was.

"Once you've done it for a while you don't fully recover, so the next time you get back on there you're already burnt out and it's giving it that little bit extra," Gardner said.

Gardner and Bunn are first-time Sky Tower Challenge competitors and have been training for more than a month to prepare.

"We want to do it for a personal achievement, but we also want to do it for the charity side of things," Gardner said.

"We have lost a member of the brigade to cancer about five years ago, everyone knows someone affected by cancer," Bunn said.

The Palmerston North station also has a team of nine taking part in the challenge and they have been training hard.

Training runs have consisted of running up the 14-storey FMG building, but they have to do it four times to replicate the Sky Tower's height.

The challenge, in its 10th year, aims to raise $1 million across New Zealand. For more information visit leukaemia.org.nz and firefightersclimb.org.nz.

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- Manawatu Standard

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