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Powerade Sky Tower Vertical Challenge Returns

27 February 2003

Media Release For Immediate Distribution

Powerade® Sky Tower Vertical Challenge Returns

The seventh annual POWERADE® Sky Tower Vertical Challenge returns on Saturday 27 March 2004. An estimated 1,200 athletes, celebrities and fun runners/walkers will once again take on the 1,029 steps to the finish line at the Main Observation deck (level 51) of the southern hemisphere’s tallest tower.

Returning to defend the Elite Female title is winner for the past three years, Melissa Moon from Wellington (current World Mountain Running Champion and New Zealand Sportswoman of the year 2002).

Other confirmed special interest entrants include some forty firemen from around the country competing in full fire fighting regalia for the inaugural New Zealand Fire Service Sports Council Sky Tower Vertical Challenge Trophy.

Senior Fire Fighter from the Auckland Airport Rescue Fire Service, Tony Scott, says he initiated the challenge to firemen around the country through the national monthly magazine “Star” and that he is thrilled with the response.

“Firemen have competed in the POWERADE® Sky Tower Vertical Challenge event in the past however this year it’s more competitive and structured,” says Mr Scott.

“There is a high level of competitiveness in the fire service and this event is actually very job related.

“The fitness required to climb 51 levels inside Sky Tower’s stairwell in full fire fighting gear is immense. The kit alone weighs eight kilos and the breathing apparatus or air cylinder weighs another 14 kilos so there is around 22 kilos over and above your normal weight to carry. Add to that the fact it gets extremely hot in fire fighting gear which builds up and drains energy the higher up you go,” he says.

SKYCITY Executive Manager, Marketing and Entertainment, Jill Birch, says that the POWERADE® Sky Tower Vertical Challenge has grown steadily in popularity each year to become one of Auckland’s biggest annual sporting events.

“Logistically, we have to limit the total number of entrants in the POWERADE® Sky Tower Vertical Challenge to 1200, however every year we’ve had increasingly more people entering,” says Ms Birch.

“For this year’s event we already have more than a quarter of the total amount of entries available. Last year we came very close to the limit so I urge anyone wanting to give it a go this year, to get their entry in as soon as possible to be assured of a place,” she says.

There are three separate divisions in the POWERADE® Sky Tower Vertical Challenge. An individual fun section; teams division (where the teams’ four fastest times are added together) and, for the faster athletes, there are the more serious elite races (male and female divisions).

“It’s a lot of fun. Every year we’ve had a colourful array of entrants aged from as young as 10 to as old as 85 years. Prime Minister Helen Clark has entered twice and we’ve had participants wearing costumes such as Scottish kilts and cheer team outfits,” says Ms Birch.

“For those who prefer to simply come along to watch, there’s a lot of action at the base of Sky Tower including spot prizes, a giant super-screen showing the finish line at the top of the tower and celebrity race entrants. Plus you can always give Sky Tower’s adventure experiences – Sky Jump and Vertigo Climb - a go,” says Ms Birch. *

The 2004 POWERADE® Sky Tower Vertical Challenge event will begin at 7am on Saturday 27 March with Auckland (Greenlane) para-athlete, Lee Warn, climbing the steps backwards using his hands to pull himself up Sky Tower (for the sixth time). The team races will get underway from 8:30am, the firemen will start at approximately 10:00am followed by the elite female and male races at around 10:30am. The individual fun run events will get underway from approximately 11:30am with the day concluding at around 1pm.

Registrations for the 2004 POWERADE® Sky Tower Vertical Challenge are available now on-line at www. EnterOnLine.co.nz, from SKYCITY Hotel concierge and from sports clubs, sports shops and gyms around the country. The winner of the elite races (male and female) receive $1000 cash, second prize nets $750 and third place-getters will receive $500. On-line entries cost $30 per person and close on 15 March 2004.

Proceeds for this year’s event will go to the New Zealand Special Olympics Foundation to help provide funds for sports development. There will be a promotional booth set up at the 2004 POWERADE® Sky Tower Vertical Challenge to answer questions and discuss Special Olympics with some athletes, volunteers (including Special Olympics supporter and New Zealand Olympian Dick Quax) and staff.

SKYCITY has been the major sponsor for the New Zealand Special Olympics Foundation since 1996 – the charity which provides sports opportunities for both children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

POWERADE® combines carbohydrates with fluids for energy and hydration. It quenches thirst and replenishes minerals and carbohydrates lost during sports or other intense activities. POWERADE® WATER is new range in three refreshing fruity flavours (Mandarin, Grapefruit and Lime) and contains 5 essential vitamins and electrolytes. POWERADE® has been involved in the Sky Tower Vertical Challenge for the last three years.

* At 192 metres, Sky Jump is the world’s longest adventure jump and Vertigo Climb is a thrilling climb up Sky Tower’s internal mast ladder to arrive at the highest public viewing deck in the southern hemisphere.

Ends

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