Angela Munro, a long-time Firefighter Combat Challenge enthusiast from Auckland, has once again demonstrated amazing strength and athleticism to become the National Firefighter Combat Challenge Champion in the female category with a time of 3:26.40. Thirteen determined women – twice the number that competed last year – turned in inspiring efforts on the course. Despite complete exhaustion and a few long times, every woman pushed through the pain and crossed the line.
Forty-seven year old Karin Bos from Little River was one of those women. This year, she competed in the individual event and finished the course for first time since sustaining a back injury while attempting to pick up a dummy in the 2011 Nationals. “Last year, I ran in only the tandems with Tineke (van der Heide), then at the South Islands in Hanmer I gave it a good go,” said Bos. “But I didn’t think I could do it without injuring myself again and so I pulled out. At the Nationals I just thought stuff it, I’m just going to do it and I’ll deal with the consequences after. I was absolutely rapt to be able to finish the race!”
Bos made a huge commitment, focussing on upper body strengthening, core strengthening, general fitness and lifting techniques. She incorporated Bikram Yoga, chainsawing, and woodchopping to get herself back into competition shape. “I was very pleasantly surprised that I could so easy pick up the dummy without hurting my back again,” she said. “The rest of the course was easier than other years, clearly the result of some pretty specific training. Now I’m looking forward to next year, when I can improve on my time. “The Combat Challenge makes me think about the limitations of being able to go to callouts and not being able to put my hand up for situations where people might have to be rescue. I was beginning to question my usefulness as a firefighter. So just finishing was a biggie for me.”
“The top three females all had times under four minutes,” said Ceara Owen-Perry, UFBA Events Manager. “That is no mean feat considering there is no difference between the male and female courses. It was great to see such an increase in numbers, and we saw an amazing improvement of times over last year. We saw the ‘never give up’ attitude over and over again in both the men and women who competed.”
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