The Lake Okareka Volunteer Rural Fire Brigade - Phil Rennie (left), Blair Gilbert, Phil Muldoon, Adam McHugh and Stu Lyall - won the "donned" section of the Sky Tower Stair Challenge. Absent: Kierin Oppatt. Photo / Stephen Parker
Adam McHugh was first to the top in the donned category - where they wear full gear but do not carry breathing apparatus. He finished in 11 minutes 35 seconds. Kierin Oppatt came second in 11m 52s.
The team competition counts the top three members of a team and the quickest accumulated time wins. For Lake Okareka, it was chief fire officer Phil Muldoon who rounded out the trio - he reached the top in 14m 9s, one second ahead of Blair Gilbert. "We were blown away to win it a second year in a row," Mr Muldoon said. "We'll definitely be back next year. "We'll defend until we get too old."
The team trained three or four times a week for six weeks, using the Novotel stairwell and climbing it between 10 and 12 times. "It's all thanks to Ed Judd (from Novotel). We knew what we were in for. It was good to get used to the heat."
A total of 750 firefighters, mostly from New Zealand, took part. The challenge raised more than $1 million for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.
It was a double celebration for the team. Mr Muldoon turned 49 on Saturday and Mr Gilbert had his birthday earlier in the week. They finished seventh and eighth in the masters category. Next year, they advance to the grand masters.
The Ngongotaha Volunteer Fire Brigade and Mamaku Fire Brigade also took part.
- Rotorua Daily Post