Saturday, 20 June 2009

FireFit 2009 P.A.

My little guy always loved to play with water and get dirty.
Mark, age 4.

See this cute little guy?

I am one Mom that never expected to see a son of mine compete in this Firefit competition and I have to tell you, as I watched him preparing for this, my heart was beating awfully fast. I tried to talk him out of it. Silly to even try of course but the mother in me was terribly worried about my little boy subjecting himself to such a grueling challenge. Always a mother. And was that a cough I was hearing?

But here he is 20 years later being the man the Lord meant him to be and I am so proud of him.
Mark getting ready for the team relay event.

Part of the relay - no masks for the relay. Still grueling!

Mark's turn is up for the solo competition - the whole course, by yourself, racing the clock and one other guy beside you. The sun is out and it is getting warm out here. He is off up the stairs to the top of a five story building.

8.2 sec - half way there.
Mark is climbing six flights of stairs in full gear with an oxygen tank on his back and breathing through a mask which reduces O2 by 15 %. On his back is 42 pounds of fire hose. No runners - big heavy firefighter boots and fire fighter gloves which makes the task even harder. I am one nervous spectator.

Mark is pulling 45 pounds of hose up the side of this five story building. Then he races down to the bottom and on to the next task...

Using a 9 pound mallet to move a 165 pound beam
The clock is at just over a minute....

Off to the other end of the course through the obstacles to grab the fully charged fire hose. I think the guys just want to lie down and give up at this point... but there is more to do. Still under two minutes.
Dragging a fully charged hose 75 feet and then hitting a target with the water.
This is the last and final leg of the competition - dragging 175 pounds of dead weight 100 ft across the finish line.

I feel his pain. Mark is so, so close to meeting his goal - just to finish the course - so many cannot get through it at all.

"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small,large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and goodsense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." Winston Churchill ~a quote Mark has on his facebook page.

Mark at the finish line being tended to by the crew.

The recovery and first aid tent.
Some of these guys looked pretty bad. I had to go there and make sure he was okay... and take a few pictures too.
This is the crew getting those O2 masks off ASAP

and when it was all over and he had recovered I got this shot...

Here he is with his buddies 21 years later. Still playing with water. They grow up way too fast.
The Thompson Manitoba Fire Fighters FIREFIT team! Mark is on the far right. Mark did exceptionally well and I am one proud Mama. Okay I have to admit there were a few moments when I was so worried I felt physically sick... but now I just feel pride.
If you get a chance to see the Scott Firefit champions in real life - go for it - very impressive.

These are the guys who stay in shape so they can risk their lives to save ours.


Colin said...

Awsome job Mark. All of those tasks are tough enough without all the gear on and people watching your every move. Well done.

Ian said...

Congratulations Mark! A job well done.

I have seen this event on television and can only imagine the demands from a physical and mental perspective.

The community in Thompson Manitoba must also be proud and confident that they have such a capable and willing team.

Keep up the great work!!

John said...

Amazing!! It is great to know there are people like Mark there ... just in case. Well done! Well done!! Well done!!

Kate said...

WOW Julie! Great photos! I was on the edge of my seat just reading about it!!!

Liz Rempel said...

Very few choose a career where their lives are in danger and they serve others at all times. Thank God there are young men like our sons who choose that path. I am somewhat in awe of anyone who does this and I am very very proud, although very concerned as well for their safety. May God Hold Them Safely in the palm of his hand...

Julie Cortens said...

Yes, Liz you (and Kate) and I know well those feeling of pride that they have chosen a career that serves and protects others in their greatest needs. But we worry. Always a mother (or wife, right Kate?). I would have preferred a desk job for Mark. I had him pegged as an engineer. Man plans his ways but the Lord directs his steps. It is indeed a strange mixture of worry and yet motherly pride. Yes, may the Lord hold them safely in the palm of His hand. Amen