The tou­ghest two mi­nutes in pro spor t s

Le Reflet (The News) - - LA UNE - GREGG CHAMBERLAIN gregg.chamberlain@eap.on.ca

Ever since he was a kid, Jim­my Ivans­ki drea­med of being a fi­re­man. What his youn­ger self didn’t know then was that Ivans­ki would not be just figh­ting fires and hel­ping save lives.

Ever since he was a kid, Jim­my Ivans­ki drea­med of being a fi­re­man. What his youn­ger self didn’t know then was that Ivans­ki would not be just figh­ting fires and hel­ping save lives. He would en­dure the ul­ti­mate chal­lenge of strength and speed which makes even pro foot­ball players weep.

“They call it ‘the tou­ghest two mi­nutes in sports’,” a smi­ling Ivans­ki ex­plai­ned du­ring a sit-down in­ter­view at the Em­brun Tim Hor­tons.

The 35-yea­rold vo­lun­teer fi­re­figh­ter grin­ned be­fore going to des­cribe the Fi­reFit Chal­lenge Cham­pion­ships.

The Fi­reFit Chal­lenge is a se­ries of strength, speed and sta­mi­na si­mu­la­tions of the si­tua­tions that fi­re­figh­ters eve­ryw­here may en­coun­ter du­ring a call-out.

The maxi­mum time limit al­lo­wed to com­plete the chal­lenge is two mi­nutes. One se­cond more and the par­ti­ci­pa­ting fi­re­figh­ter has lost the chal­lenge.

“We all call it the Five Stages of Pain,” Ivans­ki said, grin­ning.

First is the six-sto­rey to­wer run. A fire- figh­ter wea­ring 60 pounds worth of full “bun­ker gear”, from boots to hel­met, hoists a 50-pound hose pack, and stair-runs up a six-sto­rey scaf­fold to the top. From there he does a hose hoist, hau­ling ano­ther hose pack up to the top of the scaf­fold. Then he runs back down to the bot­tom where “the Kai­ser” awaits.

This de­vice is a simple metal block set on run­ners and at­ta­ched to a pis­ton.

In­ten­ded to si­mu­late a “for­cible en­try” si­tua­tion, the fi­re­figh­ter must ham­mer away at the block with a sledge, mo­ving the block back on the run­ners. But it is not that ea­sy, thanks to the pis­ton.

“It takes 400 pounds of pres­sure to hit it and move it,” Ivans­ki said. “The har­der you hit, the fas­ter you hit, the soo­ner it moves.”

Af­ter shif­ting the Kai­ser, the next task is a run to the hose ad­vance event, which in­volves pul­ling a high-pres­sure hose 75 feet and then take aim at a tar­get.

The goal is to score a bull­seye be­cause any­thing less than a di­rect hit means ta­king a two-se­cond pe­nal­ty on the fi­nal time.

Anyone who misses ac­cepts the pe­nal­ty be­cause there’s no time to waste with just two mi­nutes to com­plete the chal­lenge.

Last event is “Res­cue Ran­dy”, which means ba­ck­wards drag­ging a 175-pound

“They call it ‘the tou­ghest two mi­nutes in sports’,” a smi­ling Ivans­ki ex­plai­ned du­ring a sit-down in­ter­view at the Em­brun Tim Hor­tons. The 35-year-old vo­lun­teer fi­re­figh­ter grin­ned be­fore going to des­cribe the Fi­reFit Chal­lenge Cham­pion­ships.

prac­tice res­cue dum­my 100 feet to the fi­nish. No fi­re­man’s lift is al­lo­wed here.

An ex­haus­ted fi­re­figh­ter has to deal with the fric­tion of the drag along with his or her ti­red and aching muscles.

Ivans­ki has been a Fi­reFit Chal­lenge com­pe­ti­tor for eight years since he joi­ned the Em­brun vo­lun­teer force a de­cade ago.

He grins as he re­calls seeing on Fa­ce­book an NFL pro foot­ball player who was convin­ced to take on the chal­lenge one time. “He could ba­re­ly make it.”

This month, Ivans­ki is off to Cal­ga­ry for the na­tio­nal Fi­reFit Chal­lenge, the week of Sept. 14.

It’ll be his third time at the na­tio­nals. He qua­li­fied as the Ot­ta­wa re­gion’s cham­pion over this past sum­mer so he gets to leap­frog all the qua­li­fiers and go straight to the cham­pion­ship round on Sept. 17.

“That’s a big stress re­lie­ver,” he said. “It doesn’t mean I get to re­lax, but it is a big weight off my shoul­ders.”

Last year Ivans­ki fi­ni­shed the na­tio­nal chal­lenge with a 48th place ran­king out of 160 com­pe­ti­tors, and a fifth-ove­rall ran­king out of 45 in the vo­lun­teer par­ti­ci­pant class.

“And this is out of all the tou­ghest men and wo­men from all the towns in Ca­na­da.”

All of his week­ly trai­ning for Fi­reFit makes him a bet­ter fi­re­figh­ter, he fi­gures. That’s what mat­ters most to him.

“To be a vo­lun­teer and to help my com­mu­ni­ty, it’s a win-win. It’s a ve­ry phy­si­cal job, which is al­so what I love. I get a lot of sup­port from my sta­tion, and I’d like to thank them for that.”

Out­side of the fire sta­tion, the six-foot Ivans­ki works as a floo­ring contrac­tor.

When not doing that, or trai­ning or going out on calls, he most en­joys al­most any kind of out­door ac­ti­vi­ty like run­ning or clim­bing, any­thing to help build car­dio.

Come win­ter time and he might be avai­lable for a round of pi­ckup ho­ckey.

He used to play de­fence for the Em­brun Pan­thers.

“De­fi­ni­te­ly, ho­ckey is in my blood.”

—pho­to Gregg Chamberlain

Jim­my Ivans­ki is rea­dy to take on ano­ther Fi­refit Chal­lenge, and this time see if he can win a na­tio­nal title.

—sub­mit­ted pho­to

Poun­ding on the Kai­ser.

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