Firefighter Amy signs up for leg-buster

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Ashburton volunteer firefighter Amy Ferguson is preparing to climb more than 1000 steps in full kit.

Personal trainer Amy Ferguson has been getting a few odd looks when she works out on the stairclimber at the EA Networks Centre gym.

It’s because she’s wearing a black vest stuffed with weights that add 20kg to her slight frame.

The Ashburton volunteer firefighter is preparing for the firefighter Sky Tower stair challenge in May when she will climb 1103 steps in full fire kit and breathing apparatus.

Amy hopes to cut it out inside 15 minutes and will also take her training to the stairs at Somerset House, which mimic the Sky Tower’s ascent.

It’s a full-on assault on leg muscles and lungs and firefighters taking part are warned that overheating and dehydration can be big issues on the day.

Amy has extra motivation to succeed: Her dad and rural Ashburton firefighter John Ferguson is also doing the Sky Tower challenge.

Amy, 28, has been a member of the Ashburton urban fire team since last September. She has begun training seriously for the Sky Tower event and being able to tackle it with her father, a 30-year veteran of the rural brigade, is special. Three firefighters from Methven and six from Rakaia are also flying to Auckland for the challenge, which raises money for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.

Firefighters taking part are asked to raise funds in their area and Amy’s gym at the EA Networks Centre is holding a special challenge on April 17 to help her.

Between 8am and 1pm that day, the gym is having its own stair climber challenge. Teams and individuals can book 15-minute slots and see if they can cut out the 1103 steps; Amy will be doing it too, in her full firefighter kit.

She said she hoped to see some of her Ashburton brigade colleagues there. She has been taking them for weekly boot camps to boost their physical fitness.

There will be cash buckets for people to make donations and a sausage sizzle, a fire truck and a pop-up playground for entertainment. A raffle with a special prize is also boosting funds: the winner will go to school in a fire truck.