Firefighters from around the world compete in ‘toughest 2 minutes in sports’
Firefighters compete in full gear to finish an intense obstacle course laden with weights, stairs, fire hoses and mannequins with the best time
By Hannah Darden
The Sacramento Bee
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — This week, Sacramento is hosting the 27th annual Firefighter World Combat Challenge. This competition, billed by ESPN as the “toughest two minutes in sports,” challenges firefighters in full gear to complete an intense obstacle course laden with weights, stairs, fire hoses and mannequins.
Nearly 500 firefighters from all over the world will race for the best time, said Challenge founder Paul Davis. He estimated that during the competition the course – set up on 10th Street, right in front of the Capitol building – would be run over a thousand times.
WATCH || Welcome to the Lion’s Den. Congratulations to SPR Aidan Grant for completing the Firefighter Combat World Challenge course in 1 minute 38 seconds which is below the threshold to join the Lion’s Den, an elite international club for competitive firefighters. #Force4NZ pic.twitter.com/U3RC3YsSeI— New Zealand Army (@NZArmy) October 25, 2018
Firefighters from 12 countries and all over the U.S. will compete in qualifying rounds in order to make it to the championships on Friday and Saturday, Davis said.
Challengers can compete individually, in a tandem race with a partner or in a relay with a team of up to five people.
Challengers are split into classes according to age and gender, Davis said, and 150 medals total will be awarded at the end of the championships to the top three of each class in each of the three types of race.
This week ALCO Firefighters are competing in the Firefighter Combat Challenge in Sacramento. This is an International Tournament going up against teams from all over the world. Firefighters Mike Melton (ALCO), Harry Myers (ALCO), Brett McNulty (Piedmont), and Ben Crew (Hayward) pic.twitter.com/mVZc3NwZ1C— Alcofirefighters (@alcofirefighter) October 26, 2018
The goal is just to complete the course – but the faster it’s done, the better. Almost all of the obstacles on the course require the firefighters to carry weight; over the course of a single run, competitors carry over 300 pounds of fire hose and drag a 175-pound mannequin across the finish line, said Davis.
The world record holder, Ian Van Reenen of Oakville Fire in Ontario, Canada, finished in just one minute and 14 seconds, according to the Challenge’s website.
The public is invited to watch the competition for free. Qualifiers run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, and the championships start at noon Friday and at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The Challenge also offers a livestream of the competition through its website.
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