Annual Skytower Challenge

Gavin Mason and Simon Bowden

Gavin Mason (left) and Simon Bowden

Huge congratulations to our two Rescue Fire firefighters Gavin Mason and Simon Bowden who smashed the 2018 Firefighter Skytower Challenge. Gavin took out 3rd place in 9.34 and Simon was 20th in a time of 12.04. 

It was Gavin’s third time participating in the challenge, which raises funds for the Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand Foundation.

The firefighter and volunteer St John paramedic made a huge comeback as two weeks after finishing 4th in the 2017 event, he was hospitalized and unable to walk a single stair. Gavin had contracted Guillain-Barré Syndrome (an inflammation of the peripheral nerves connecting the skin and muscles to the central nervous system and leads to progressive weakness in the arms and legs).

“It’s an insane event,” says Gavin. “Your lungs start burning at about the 40th floor but there’s a real sense of purpose and comradery amongst all those competing to push as hard as we can. To finish and complete this year’s event will complete a full cycle and an eventful past year for me to get to full fitness.”

Gavin was joined by a team of five competitors from ZQN, including firefighter and endurance athlete Simon Bowden.

Firefighters have to wear their full kit and breathing apparatus, weighing up to 25 kilograms, during the climb which involves more than 1,100 stairs.

The team completed their annual fundraiser at Queenstown Airport, which proudly helps support their efforts,