One hundred and fifty-nine steps.

It may not seem a lot, but convert it to 11 flights of stairs, slap on 25kg of firefighting equipment and run up and down them eight times and you may change your mind.

This is what members of the Clyde Volunteer Fire Brigade are doing each Thursday night as they prepare to tackle the Sky Tower in Auckland.

A trio of firefighters — and ring›in Central Otago District Mayor Tim Cadogan — have taken to training in the Clyde Dam ahead of the Firefighter Sky Tower Challenge later this month.

An annual fundraiser for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand, the event has firefighters from throughout the country climb the stairs of the 328m structure —all while wearing full firefighting kit.

Clyde Volunteer Fire Brigade station officer Tim Paulin, who was gearing up for his fourth challenge, said it was for a worthy cause.

‘‘I think the cause is good — the event itself is extremely hard. You probably wish you don’t want to do it ever again but it’s a good thing to do.’’

Training at the Clyde Dam was good preparation for the challenge, he said.

‘‘We’re going basically just above the river down to the pump gallery, so that far below the river — 159 hard steps, we try to do it as many times as we can.’’

‘‘If we can do eight up and down we’re pretty happy, sometimes it’s only six or seven [times], but eight’s our goal — it’s pretty close tothe equivalent of the Sky Tower.’’

Race to the top . . . Central Otago District Mayor Tim Cadogan and Clyde Volunteer Fire Brigade station officer Tim Paulin climb stairs at the Clyde Dam. PHOTOS: SHANNON THOMSON

Seven-time veteran Barry Nevill started taking part because of the cause it represented, but found he benefited from it also.

‘‘I started because we all know someone who is affected by cancer — and keeping my own core skills up for firefighting doing this is great.’’

‘‘The camaraderie with the guys — meeting up and I guess the mental health aspect — we all deal with stuff in our own lives in our own way,’’ he said.

It was the third time lucky for Mr Cadogan after his first two attempts to climb the Sky Tower were halted by the national lockdown in 2020 and his own cancer battle last year.

‘‘It’s been a real privilege to train with the guys and to be able to use [Clyde Dam] — not many small towns have access to this number of steps.

‘‘We don’t have a seven storey-building but we have a seven-storey dam.’’