Bid to douse competitors
Taking on the best US firefightersRACHEL RAMSAY
Chris Bestwick is taking on the best US firefighters in a tough challenge, writes Rachel Ramsay.
A Te Awamutu volunteer firefighter will head to America to compete in “the firefighter's ironman” despite injuring himself during training.
Chris Bestwick, 24, received a haematoma to the bicep when a fire hose burst while he was carrying it and has also sprained his ankle while taking on rigorous training up to three hours a day, six days a week with a personal trainer. But he says it is all worth it.
He will compete in the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge, a five-event race in North Carolina in November in which competitors perform tasks that mimic real-life situations, racing against the clock.
A highlight includes climbing staircases while dragging a 20kg hose, and rescuing a dummy the size of a large adult, all while dressed in full firefighting gear.
Mr Bestwick, who finished a degree in sports and exercise science last year, has been a volunteer firefighter in the Waikato for seven years.
“I'm looking forward to seeing how they do things over there,” he says. “It'll be nice to meet some new people and share some interests.”
He says competitions like the Combat Challenge are a good chance to “show off your skills".
“Winning gives you some good bragging rights,” he said.
United Fire Brigades Association chief executive George Verry said competitions help promote camaraderie within fire brigades.
“The rest of their team can go down and support their team mates and it helps strengthen team spirit. That is a very important aspect of firefighting.”
Mr Bestwick won the New Zealand national Combat Challenge title last year with a time of 1 minute 56 seconds. He hopes to reduce that by nearly 30 seconds in the United States, where the world record stands at 1 minute and 15 seconds.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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