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FireFit repeat – Halifax team prevails at national championships

Joe Triff was having a good week. The paramedic and volunteer firefighter had gotten word in early September that he’d been hired by the Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency Service as a full-time firefighter and he was about to head to the Scott FireFit Championships in Quinte West, Ont.

October 31, 2008
By Laura King


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 Joe Triff of  the Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency Service drags the rescue randy during the Scott FireFit open challenge in Toronto in July. Triff won the men’s individual competition with a time of 1:20:30 at the championships at Quinte West, Ont., in September.

Joe Triff was having a good week. The paramedic and volunteer firefighter had gotten word in early September that he’d been hired by the Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency Service as a full-time firefighter and he was about to head to the Scott FireFit Championships in Quinte West, Ont.

With the stress of waiting to hear about the full-time job lifted, Triff gave his all at the national championships, led his Halifax 1 team to a second consecutive victory and captured the individual title for the second year in a row, with a time of 1:20:30.

“Joe competed at several events and really didn’t have good races at all but when it counted he had a brilliant run,” said FireFit organizer Hilary McRoberts.

Triff’s status as the 2007 champion meant he was a star attraction at this year’s regional events and often ran in the final timeslot of the day, pitted against veteran FireFit competitors including Mike Gilbert of St. Catharines, Ont., who ran a world record time of 1:17 in the wildcard event in Quinte West.

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“Last year it was just Joe racing and not a lot of pressure,” said Triff. “I was never the person to watch at an event. That changed this year and all year I was the last race of the day, racing against the person favoured to win the event, and it was something you had to get used to.”

Triff turned 26 the day of the FireFit banquet at the national championships. “It was a whirlwind week for sure,” he said.

Second-year competitor Graham MacKenzie of Kamloops, B.C., finished second in Quinte West at 1:20:97 followed by Eric Pichette of Sudbury at 1:21:28, Chris Wagner of CFB Halifax at 1:21:85 and veteran Dwayne Drover of Waterloo at 1:21: 85.

The Halifax 1 team of Triff, Andrew Foote (1:26:12) and Adam MacNeil (1:27:60) took the team title with a time of 4:14:02, followed by Edmonton Fire & Rescue’s Brian Forseille (1:23:07), John Drew (1:27:93) and Jeff Readman (1:28:23) at 4:19:23. The Sudbury team of Pichette, Jesse Fram (1:25:45) and Jimmy Kolar (1:34:32) came third at 4:21:06.

In the women’s event, Vanessa Moores of the St. John’s Regional Fire Department “came out from nowhere,” said McRoberts. Moores had two fantastic runs – 2:16 on Thursday and 2:15:01 on Saturday but with a two-second penalty for a total time of 2:17:01. “She is super strong and will be one to watch in the future,”
McRoberts said.

Longtime FireFit competitor Jacqueline Rasenberg of Vaughan Fire Rescue in Ontario came second at 2:20:82 and was first in the over-40 women’s category. Danielle Comolli of Toronto Fire Services, maintained her 2007 third-place status with a time of 2:34:07 followed by Denise Townshend of DND Canada at 2:37:65. Townshend, who finished fifth last year, was also second in the over-40 category. Lindsey Ingram of Winnipeg captured fifth this year at 2:44:78.

The team from Sherbrooke, Que., led by captain Daniel Gingras, won the gruelling relay event. “They have a bunch of competitors who have been competing for a number of years,” said McRoberts. “They aren’t a young team necessarily, so for them to do what they did was phenomenal considering the competition.”

The relay team from Kamloops, B.C., finished second followed by CFB Halifax and Canadian Fire Marshal DND. Ottawa Fire was the fastest volunteer team in the relay, Lambton College was first among fire schools, Shell Scottford was first in the industrial
category and Kingston, Ont., won the over-40 relay event.

Records were broken in the over-50 individual category with Chief Jack Hickey of the St. John’s Regional Fire Department’s time of 1:31:27, the over-40 category with Gilbert’s run of 1:17:91, the men’s open NXG2 technical event with Shaun Henderson and Alex Possamai clocking 1:25:53 (followed closely by Triff and Mike Sears at 1:25:55), the men’s over-40 NXG2 event with Ralph Crouse and Jamie Neadow of Kingston Fire & Rescue in Ontario pulling in 1:40:36, the mixed NXG2 with Melanie Edwards and Ryan McCracken running 2:03:29 (including a penalty), the women’s NXG2 with Jennifer Ratte and Denise Townshend pulling off 2:28:67 and the men’s over-55 record being broken by Brian Jones of Belleville, Ont., with 1:55:82.

Additional results can be viewed at www.FireFit.com


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