An amazing level of fitness
Following outstanding Regional Challenges in Westport and Whanganui, competitors at the UFBA National Firefighter Combat Challenge took full advantage of Wellington’s superb weather and a fast track to set many new personal bests. First timers also made their mark.
Westport were fantastic hosts for the South Island event on 5 December, working hard to make sure the show went well.
It was not surprising no one could catch Steven Maw and the Canterbury teams. However, with 27 competitors new to the Challenge, we had some surprises with a number of first timers ranking in the top three of their categories.
Steven (Southbridge) took the Open Male title. First time competitors UFBA Vice President Alan Kittelty and Hayley Rossiter (Darfield) took out first place in the Co-ed Tandem category.
Hayley also shined in the Open Women’s competition where she took first place.
Hosted by Whanganui in conjunction with their 150th year celebrations, the North Island event on 27 February was the largest Firefighter Combat Challenge ever held in New Zealand.
We had 105 individuals registered, with a total of 130 people competing including a massive 55 new competitors. These numbers exceeded those usually attending Nationals, which are held over two days.
The Whanganui Committee was tireless and along with an early start and the hard work of Officials, we completed the Challenge in one day.
Dave Shaw (Te Awamutu) took out the top place for the Open Male while Kathleen Penny (Bulls) won Open Female.
Spectacular weather on the Wellington waterfront set a wonderful stage for the Nationals on 18-19 March.
Hosted together with the Wellington Provincial Fire Brigades’ Association, the two adrenalin-packed days thrilled competitors, their supporters and a large contingent of public spectators.
Ed Jackman (Cust) took the top placing in the Open Male from his good friend Steven Maw with Dave Shaw third (he ranked first in the Over 40 Male).
Sean Jackman won the Over 50 Male category while ‘Uncle Tom’ Reid again claimed the Over 60 Male title.
At her first time at the Nationals, Hayley Rossiter blitzed the field to take the Open Female title followed by Kat Penny and Amelia Wood (Lincoln). Tanja Grunwald won the Over 40 Female category.
Lion’s Den awards
Outstanding competitors who meet the time criteria at regional or world championships join the elite club known as the Lion’s Den.
We congratulate the three Kiwis who qualified at this year’s UFBA National Firefighter Combat Challenge.
The first recipient of the highly sought-after Lion’s Den medal was Neil Gardiner (Takaka). Needing to complete the course in 2:00 minutes or less for the Over 40 Male category, his time was 1:58.29.
At her first time at the Nationals, Tanja Grunwald (Whanganui) was installed into the Lion’s Den with her time of 3:18.80, easily beating the 3:30 time required for the Over 40 Female section.
Just a couple of runs later, Hayley Rossiter entered the track. She smashed the Lion’s Den requirement of 3:00 for the Open Female category, punching out an impressive time of 2:44.41.
Pictured: UFBA Vice President Alan Kittelty (and CFO Darfield Volunteer Fire Brigade), presented Hayley Rossiter with her Lion’s Den medal.
“Massive thank you to the UFBA for putting on such a well organised event, also to all the officials over the weekend who made things run smoothly and efficiently. Awesome effort from all competitors who created an environment where the bar was set incredibly high.” Hayley Rossiter, Darfield
Event continues to grow
Our thanks to all the host committees, Officials, Technical Panel and Challenges Committee for supporting this year’s UFBA Firefighter Combat Challenge season and ensuring all three events were such a success.
We also salute the competitors and their brigades for their commitment to the months of gruelling training needed to compete in this physically demanding Challenge. We were thrilled to see so many newbies take part and succeed.
It’s encouraging to have a 50% growth in the Challenge, which is attracting more and more competitors each year. With the continued support of the Fire Service, the UFBA is meeting our aims of building the fitness of our firefighters and demonstrating the rigours of the profession to the public.
We’re now into planning the 2017 season with the national event set down for late April in Wellington.
“Congratulations UFBA on another brilliantly run Firefighter Combat Challenge. The organisation of the event was again first class, the officials and commentators were incredible and the competitors amazing. Thanks again for doing an awesome job, we really appreciate it.” Wayne Maw, Southbridge
Image: The amazing level of fitness of the Challenge competitors was demonstrated by the closeness of the run between Lewis Trickett (Silverdale) and Dan Brady (Devonport).
Click here for photos of the 2016 UFBA National Firefighter Combat Challenge
Click here for photos of the 2016 UFBA National Firefighter Combat Challenge Awards Night
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