26 May 2022

Gluttons for glory: Geocon Menslink Stair Chase is back

| Dione David
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Six people in front of High Society building in Belconnen

Region Media took part in the 2021 Geocon Menslink Stair Chase and will return this year. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Around 10 teams have registered to ascend the seemingly endless (but actually 27) storeys of stairs at High Society – Canberra’s tallest residential towers – for the 2022 Geocon Menslink Stair Chase.

Last year the event, organised by Canberra development company Geocon to raise money and awareness for Menslink, resulted in around $15,000 being donated to support vital mental health services for Canberra’s young men.

Last year Vantage Strata’s Brittany Durand was the fastest female to compete in the race at 4 minutes and 1 second. She has shared her experience ahead of this year’s race on Thursday (26 May).

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Brittany, who was already generally keeping fit with regular HIIT gym sessions and hikes up Mount Ainslie during her lunch breaks, said she still wasn’t prepared.

“Mount Ainslie is about a 30-minute walk from bottom to top, and there are some pretty steep parts that can test your legs a bit, but it’s not as intense as running up 27 storeys of stairs,” she said.

“I thought it would be a leg burner, but surprisingly, it turned out to be more about proper breathing.

“It took us quite a while to regain our breath even after the race.”

Brittany, the strata manager for the High Society building, said she was a naturally competitive person and could not stop herself from bolting from the get-go.

“I had this mindset I’d be able to run the entire way,” she laughed.

“I think I made it to level 18 or 19 before I had to switch to a fast walk.

“It’s really easy, standing at the bottom of those stairs, to go all out at the very beginning.”

Six people in the stairwell

Real estate sales company Zango also had no regrets (no, really). Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The former champion said she found looking down while going up a spiral to be “very disorienting” and advised this year’s competitors to “keep their heads up”.

“Also, even if it is freezing cold in the morning, I promise you don’t want a jacket,” she warned.

“That’s probably my biggest regret – wearing my big Kathmandu puffer jacket. By level four I thought, ‘what have I done?’. I found new respect for firefighters who run those steps in full gear for training.”

Though Brittany will be taking on a cheerleader role for her team this year, she said she had no regrets.

“It’s so rewarding to test your limits and contribute to Menslink at the same time – so good causes all around.”

READ ALSO Julia Gillard tells Menslink resilience is critical as COVID-19 impact hits young men hard

Menslink general manager Penny Burns said funding from events such as the Stair Chase was critical to operations.

“We rely so much on the generous donations of the private sector and individuals,” she said.

“When small businesses and people in tough times like these get behind this initiative, it means a lot.”

It costs Menslink $1500 to support a young man in Canberra with mentoring and counselling services for one year.

Penny is hoping this year the Stair Chase will raise at least as much as last year’s fundraising result of about $15,000.

“That money makes such a difference, and not just in the lives of the young men in our programs,” she said.

“We offer wrap-around services to promote health-seeking behaviour. It’s all about driving and supporting greater resilience in our young men. And when we strengthen these young men, we impact entire families. It affects their mums, dads, siblings, friends – all their relationships.

“This is something Menslink needs to help people understand – that helping young men make better decisions, supporting them in who they are and the value they bring to the world, has a rounded community impact that’s really good for us all.”

For better (perhaps more likely, worse), Region Media has again entered a team into the contest. Break a leg, guys (but not literally, please, we have deadlines to meet).

The 2022 Geocon Menslink Stair Chase takes place this Thursday (26 May). Visit the Menslink website to support the cause.

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