After putting hours into training, and with a lot of heart, two firefighters from Wellesley are heading to Alberta, where their colleagues from all over Canada will be competing in the national FireFit competition in Calgary.
The competition takes aspects of the job and turns it into a grueling competitive course, run in full firefighting gear and tracked to see who gets the best finishing times.
Ryan Dosman and Madison Lavigne, both volunteer firefighters with the Wellesley Fire Department, scored low enough times in regional competition to earn themselves a spot going up against Canada’s best.
The pair competed in the individual category race in Wasaga Beach on July 2 and 3, as well as the pair relay race. Dosman qualified for nationals his first time on the course. That didn’t mean he sat back and relaxed, however.
“The rest of the time that we were there, I just kept on racing to try and see if I could make my times a little bit better. I ran that first one in basically two minutes flat. It wasn’t bad, but I always want to try and do better. If you have a time, you are always going to want to beat that. You have to try harder the next time,” he said.
Lavigne didn’t quite qualify the first go around, but she didn’t give up. After competing at another regional event in Port Elgin a couple of weeks later, she earned her spot. She is also continuing competition, trying to improve on her time.
“In Wasaga Beach, I actually didn’t finish the first time. I got half way up with the dummy and tapped out. Then I went to Port Elgin, and there, I finished and made it with like 12 seconds left. I am actually competing this weekend in Belleville, just to try and get better times before nationals,” she said.
Carrying the dummy is a part of the course that Lavigne keeps working during training.
“In our two-person relay, I actually dropped the dummy there too, so we didn’t get a great time in that. And for this weekend, we have again been training for two weeks with some proper eating and all that stuff. We have been practicing and I didn’t drop it once,” she said.
For both firefighters, competing in such a difficult race was a personal choice.
“For me, this is motivation to keep myself in shape,” said Dosman. “Whether it is for the job or just for my own personal goals. I have always been into fitness and stuff, so this is a way I can put them together.”
For Lavigne, part of the joy of the competition is entering as a woman, showing the boys how it’s done and beating her personal best.
“There have been a lot of comments from other women, just about being a female and in this competition. That is one of the reasons that I signed up to do it. Last summer with the relay team, I had set a goal that I was going to do the individual category,” she said. “It is just about preparing. It betters yourself and the community as well. We need to be able to do well.”
The duo will be heading to Calgary for Sept. 13. They have set up a gofundme account to help with travel costs. Just search ‘Wellesley FireFit’ to donate.