Firefighter athletes gear up

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Matt Selig


AMHERST – It’s two minutes, give or take. But what a two minutes.

“This is my third year and Mark’s tenth,” said Matt Selig.

Selig is preparing for the upcoming Firefighters Combat Challenge in Bridgewater on July 20 and 21. Lt. Mark Goodwin is one of two teammates.

Selig and Goodwin were at the Amherst fire station Wednesday. They were pulling on gear. Selig added a weight vest to compensate for not wearing an oxygen tank. It was a training session for the upcoming competition.

“It’s a good reason to stay in shape,” said Selig, the younger and larger of the two men.

The firefighters train three or four days a week, in Amherst, or on a full course in Moncton.

“It’s a big commitment – it’s not to be taken lightly,” said Goodwin.

The competitors cued up a video from a past competition.

A firefighter dressed for a blaze hoisted a bound coil of firehose and raced multiple flights up a metal staircase. At the top, he grabbed a rope and hand-over-hand pulled another coil of firehose up to the landing. Then he raced back down to ground level, where he took up a hammer and proceeded to pound a ‘kaiser’ along the ground. That task completed, he jogged through a set of pylons, grabbed the end of another fire hose and ran back, using a jet of water to hit a target. Finally, he dropped the hose and picked up a weighted dummy and pulled it across the finish line.

Two minutes, give or take. Goodwin’s best time is 1:58.

“That’s nto bad for my age class,” said the almost 47-year old.

The lieutenant said he’s in better shape now than he was when he was 20. And he said the fitness training pays off on the job.

Selig said when the big blaze downtown struck last year, they had a combat challenge that weekend – after putting in tough hours fighting the Victoria Street conflagration.

Enough talk. The station stairs beckoned. A dummy waited on the asphalt outside the station. There was work to do.


Geographic location: AMHERST, Bridgewater, Moncton Victoria Street

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