Fit­ness in fo­cus at Re­spon­ders Cup

Eight gru­elling chal­lenges for Flem­ing stu­dents and com­mu­nity mem­bers

The Peterborough Examiner - - Sports - JES­SICA NYZNIK EXAMINER STAFF WRITER jes­sica.nyznik@pe­ter­bor­ough­daily.com

Strength and stamina were put to the test Satur­day by 80 par­tic­i­pants in the First Re­spon­ders Cup.

The fit­ness chal­lenge had a dozen teams com­pet­ing for eight hours at the Peterborough Sports and Well­ness Cen­tre.

They worked their way through a se­ries of eight gru­elling chal­lenges, vy­ing to com­plete them as quickly as pos­si­ble to earn the best time.

Flem­ing Col­lege launched the event last year. It’s hosted by stu­dents in pre-ser­vice fire­fighter, paramedic, cus­toms bor­der ser­vices, and po­lice foun­da­tions pro­grams.

Teams col­lect pledges to com­pete, with funds sup­port­ing the local Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion.

But it’s not just stu­dents who com­pete. The event is open to com­mu­nity mem­bers, too.

This year’s win­ning team was Kawartha Crossfit.

Jess Ver­wey, Kawartha Crossfit team cap­tain, is an in­struc­tor for Flem­ing’s fire fit­ness. She’s also a coach at Kawartha Crossfit and works re­cep­tion at the Well­ness Cen­tre.

Last year, Ver­wey com­peted on a Flem­ing staff team. This year, her team was made up of three nurses, a mill­wright and a con­struc­tion worker.

Although she teaches fit­ness, Ver­wey doesn’t par­take in her Flem­ing class ex­er­cises. The chal­lenge was a chance to show her stu­dents what she’s made of, while also feed­ing her com­pet­i­tive na­ture.

“They don’t see that fit­ness part of me. And I love fit­ness, it’s part of who I am … now they can see me do stuff,” Ver­wey said.

Kaz Nes­bitt also com­peted in the cup last year. He’s an ac­coun­tant with Grant Thorn­ton.

Although Nes­bitt works out ev­ery day, the chal­lenges he faced weren’t like the ones he does at the gym.

While Nes­bitt did find this time around to be eas­ier, he said his steam wore off as the day went on.

“The longer you go on in the day, the more chal­leng­ing they get,” Nes­bitt said.

But un­like last year, Nes­bitt won’t be head­ing straight home to bed.

“We’re all go­ing to go out for din­ner to fill up some of those calo­ries we burned off to­day,” he said of his post-cup plans with his team.

Jodi Steevens, Flem­ing’s pro­fes­sor of fit­ness and well­ness for the jus­tice pro­gram, is the driv­ing force be­hind First Re­spon­ders Cup.

With two more teams en­tered this year, Steevens was grate­ful to the Well­ness Cen­tre staff for lend­ing them all three gyms this year. In 2017, the event took place in just one gym. She was also thank­ful to the 70 stu­dents who vol­un­teered their day to help.

With first re­spon­ders on the front lines ev­ery day, Steevens said it’s im­por­tant for them to fo­cus on their own men­tal health as well as their pa­tients.

That’s why CMHA was the per­fect bene­fac­tor for the event.

“We’re happy to be part­ner­ing with CMHA … it was such a per­fect fit,” said Steevens.

Po­lice foun­da­tions stu­dent Sarah Farmer joined a team of city po­lice and Peterborough County OPP of­fi­cers to com­pete.

Hav­ing par­tic­i­pated in 2017, the Beaver­ton na­tive upped her car­dio over the last year to step up her game for 2018.

And while she felt bet­ter equipped than last year, her ex­pe­ri­enced team­mates upped the ante even more.

“It’s hard to keep up with them,” Farmer said smil­ing.

Mean­while, Owen Hickey and his team of fel­low cus­toms bor­der ser­vices stu­dents, knew they’d have their work cut out for them as they en­tered the chal­lenge for the first time.

Fit­ness isn’t part of their pro­gram un­til the sec­ond year, so stu­dents in fire, paramedic and po­lice pro­grams had a bit of a leg up.

“It’s def­i­nitely chal­leng­ing, but we’re hold­ing in there and we’re en­joy­ing ev­ery minute of it,” said Hickey. The Peterborough na­tive said he couldn’t have imag­ined a bet­ter or­ga­ni­za­tion for the event to sup­port than CMHA.

“First re­spon­ders are al­ways there for us and Jodi Steevens gave ev­ery­one in this gym an op­por­tu­nity to be there for them to­day,” he said.

In 2017, par­tic­i­pants raised $5,500 for CMHA. Teams topped that amount this year, rais­ing $7,654.

JES­SICA NYZNIK/EXAMINER STAFF

Flem­ing Col­lege stu­dent Scott Clyne, study­ing pre-ser­vice fire­fight­ing, com­petes in a chal­lenge dur­ing the First Re­spon­ders Cup at the Peterborough Sports and Well­ness Cen­tre Satur­day.

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