AMHERST – After a few tough days of battling blazes in downtown Amherst, three Amherst firefighters will do battle at the Scott FireFit Challenge – National Championships beginning today in Baie Comeau, Quebec.
Veteran fire obstacle course competitor, Mark Goodwin, who is 46-years-old, is competing with two fellow Amherst Fire Department firefighters - 25-year-old Matt Selig and 21-year-old Tyler McLeod.
“We run individuals on Friday, hopefully we’ll do good enough to make it for the final (individual day) on Saturday, and then we run relays on Sunday,” said Goodwin. “We’ll never be the fastest team in the country but we’ll do alright.”
Goodwin’s first firefighter competition was in 2003, but Selig and McLeod started competing this year.
“Normally I run these competitions by myself but this is the first year they’ve trained and run with me,” said Goodwin. “They’re my motivation to keep going because I was thinking of getting out of it because it is hard on the body.”
Goodwin had two injuries this summer, one while farming and one while training.
“It set me back quite a bit. I was supposed to go to a competition two or three weeks ago but couldn’t make it.”
The competition takes its toll on the joints.
“I have ligament issues with my knee, but it isn’t stopping me right now,” he said.
Goodwin, Selig and McLeod train four or five times a week.
Inside the gym they do cross training, and interval training, but, “outside the gym we do course work at the fire station in Amherst, and the Moncton Fire Station on St. George Boulevard has the tower, so we’ll sometimes train on that.”
They don’t over do it.
“Some competitors take it quite far but I don’t intend to go beating myself up and miss the summer,” said Goodwin. “Competitions start in July and you can focus a lot of your time on training, but I don’t want to quit having a life outside training.”
The toughest part of the course for Goodwin is dragging the fire hose when it’s pressured up with water.
“The long hose advance is the toughest,” he said. “It’s all about legs and lungs. If you don’t have one or the other, you’re done.”
He would like to see more firefighter’s compete in firefighter challenges.
“It promotes fitness in the fire service, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”