Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, he toa takimano. My achievements in life are never mine alone, but those of the many people in my life.
I did the firefighter's challenge to honour my friend Darcy Hunter Junior who passed away in 2017 from cancer at the relatively young age of 42.
Darc was a real modern day warrior and high achiever yet one of the most humble people you could ever meet.
He won numerous Superstock Speedway titles including the World Champs twice, the New Zealand Champs, North Island Champs and many other regional Championships.
On top of all that Darc also completed a Rotorua marathon. I remember him saying that he was not doing it to race everyone but to complete this gruelling challenge.
He also said that despite winning many speedway championships, his completion of the Rotorua marathon was one of his most satisfying achievements.
Darc was a Man's man. The Man.
He was a peoples champion and over 2000 people attended his funeral. The Firefighters Skytower Challenge is something Darc would have done to help others, that's the type of warrior he was.
I did not do this event to compete in the race side of the event. In fact, I had promised my doctor, Harry Pert, that I would not be running.
Like Darc and his marathon, I did this to complete rather than compete.
The organisers told me that my time of 24 minutes and 13 seconds was a respectable one for a first timer. However, hard to believe when the fastest guy did it in 8 minutes 31 seconds, with a cold.
It was tough. Really tough. I was told before the climb the firefighter's gear would consume 30 per cent of my energy and the oxygen bottle would consume another 20 per cent so we were already 50 per cent behind the game.
I was prepared though as I had trained in similar gear. But what I was not prepared for was the heat, the claustrophobic concrete space and consequential lack of oxygen on the stairwell.
As Darc would say, no pain no gain, and thinking of him and friends currently suffering from cancer inspired me to keep going through the tough times during those 51 flights.
It made it all worthwhile.
My whānau were also there at the top of the Skytower and did a haka which made for another awesome whānau memory to add to our pool.
What fond whānau memories do you have? How are you making the most of the times you have together? What challenges are you facing?
Who do you have around you to equip you to get through those tough times we all face, especially those times when we thought we were well prepared but it ended up being tougher than we imagined?
Kia kaha koe, kia maia kia manawanui. Ehara to toa he toanga takitahi, he toa a hoa, a whānau, a hapū, a iwi, a tūpuna hoki.
Sometimes people, we just have to complete rather than compete.