Firefighter takes on Furber Steps for motor neurone disease

How many reps could you do of Katoomba's 951 Furber Steps?

Gavin Clifton plans to complete at least two, as part of the annual Firies for Motor Neurone Disease fundraiser.

Gavin Clifton (centre) will do as many reps of Furber Steps as he can, to raise money for motor neurone disease. He's pictured with firefighters Greg Ritchie (left) and Matthew Hickey (right) before the 1504-step challenge in Sydney last year.

Gavin Clifton (centre) will do as many reps of Furber Steps as he can, to raise money for motor neurone disease. He's pictured with firefighters Greg Ritchie (left) and Matthew Hickey (right) before the 1504-step challenge in Sydney last year.

Usually firefighters would be climbing the 1504 steps of Sydney Tower Eye in full firefighting gear. But this year coronavirus has meant the challenge is a virtual one, and it's been opened up to the general public.

Mr Clifton, a retained firefighter with Fire and Rescue at Wentworth Falls, has decided to complete his challenge on Furber Steps from 6.30am on November 20.

He'll run down, then back up again, and is willing to do more reps if there are some serious donations rolling in.

A running trainer with Blue Mountains Fitness, Mr Clifton will be joined by others from the training group; helping spur him on.

The more donations received, the more times Mr Clifton will go up and down the stairs.

The group's director Tony Williams believes Mr Clifton has up to six reps in him.

Mr Clifton said that was doable.

"Six is a fair whack. I can run up and down those stairs pretty quick but I would have to pace myself for that number. If there was a $500 donation I'd be willing to do a seventh," the 50 year old said.

Mr Clifton has completed the Sydney tower climb for the past two years with three mates from Fire and Rescue NSW at Wentworth Falls, supported by their captain Graeme Brown. Last year they completed the 1504 steps in just under 16 minutes.

At the start of the climb, they are greeted by people in various stages of motor neurone disease.

"They will shake my hand and say g'day and thank us for helping out here. The next year some of these people are gone. It really puts it into perspective why you do it," Mr Clifton said.

While the challenge is hard, it's not as hard as motor neurone disease which is a progressive, terminal neurological disease. It affects the nerve cells controlling the muscles that enable us to move, speak, breathe and swallow, causing them to degenerate and die.

Mr Clifton encouraged others to get involved, join him on the day, or make a donation.

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