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The 'fittest' firefighters in the world compete in Sarnia


The ‘fittest’ firefighters in Canada and three other nations are wrapping up several days of competition in Sarnia.

The national and world FireFit finals took place on the grounds of Lambton College.

More than 250 competitors who qualified at regional meets were registered.

“It’s a great event. This is our fourth year coming, and we love it!” exclaimed Labrador City, Newfoundland firefighter Rob Parrill.

Parrill is part of a Sunday tandem event that begins with one firefighter climbing a tower to hoist a 40-pound weight.

After exchanging cylinders, another firefighter completes a relay. It ends with them dragging an 84-kilogram (185 pounds) mannequin, better known as a ‘Rescue Randy’.

“Nothing you can do can train you for doing this without having the gear on and going through it,” shared Parrill. “And seeing what is like to have an additional 50 to 60 pounds on you and then to run down at full speed.”

The firefighters from Canada, the United States, Germany, and Poland are grouped in multiple categories and age classifications.

Sarnia had to host three regional competitions to qualify for the national and world events.

Co-Chair Sue Patrick said the fitness of top-level competitors is impressive. Some have completed the course in record time.

“It speeds up all the time. These guys are training year-round for this competition. This is like no other. Nobody else works like this. But it is their job and it just makes them better Firefighters,” said Patrick.

Kelly Campbell trains twice weekly on a tower at her Cambridge, Ont. fire station.

She said all competitors push themselves to the limit, “That feeling when you cross that line and your legs give out. It's hard to replicate that in any sport.”

But the sport also offers firefighters a needed diversion.

“There are some of the not-so-good things that they have to deal with and see each day. So, they’re just here to have a good time,” said Patrick.

Even though it takes a tremendous amount of energy and a lot of guts, “Less risky than what we would experience at work. But you still get those jittery nerves that you would be heading to a fire,” concluded Campbell. Top Stories

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