Posted: Aug 6, 2011 6:06 PM by John Romero
Updated: Aug 6, 2011 8:19 PM
Over 180 firefighters from 12 states and Canada put their minds and bodies to the test at the Firefighter Combat Challenge Saturday at the Air Force Academy. "They call it the toughest 2 minutes in sports." explains AFA Firefighter Patrick Kraft, "It's basically simulating fire - ground activities to include pulling hose, running up hose hitting a target, simulating a dummy drag and things of that nature."
First competitors climb a 5 story tower while carrying hose. After that they haul a weight up those 5 flights. From there a chopping simulator leads to a criss cross run to a hose they must carry and fire off before another teammate drags a 180 pound dummy all the way to the finish line.
Kraft tells us while physical fitness is a must, the mental aspect of the competition is even bigger. "You hit that spot during that race where you know your body can still go and you just gotta tell you mind that your body can still go." he says.
Among the men and women competing is 45 year old AFA Fire Fighter Ron Prettyman. He says he does it to be able to keep up with the demands of the job and to sharpen his skills. ‘Pushing ourselves a little bit as we get older helps us stay in shape so that when we do have to respond, we're able to keep up to pace with what's going on in the fire ground." he says.
The teams work to the point of near exhaustion for the love of competition. Kraft says they leave it all out on the course. "You just go out there and pound that course and you run till you got no more and you hit the wall." he says. But Kraft and Prettyman agree their favorite part is just being around their fellow fire fighters. "It's not just competition. It's teamwork." says Prettyman.