Firefighter challenge takes over downtown Phoenix

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Firefighters from around the country and the world are in Phoenix this week competing in the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge: World Challenge 23.

Downtown Phoenix was transformed into a unique race course for firefighters from places like Portugal, Germany, New Zealand and Canada.

The challenge has been called the toughest two minutes in sports.

A volunteer firefighter in Mesa explained part of the course for 3TV.

"You go up four stories, pull a 40-pound weight up, then you take off from from there," Garrett Schilleman said. "You do an obstacle, a zig-zag course, jogging through the fire hydrants, and you continue onto the dummy drag. It's a 175-pound dummy, pick it up, and I believe you go about 40 yards to the finish line."

This is the first time they've brought the challenge to Phoenix.

Time trials have been going on all week, each firefighter competing to qualify for the World Championship Event this weekend.

"I felt good up the stairs. My rope pull felt good. I came down and I was starting to get a little tired. By the time you got to the cones, you think about it a little bit too much. The dummy, the dummy kicked my butt today," said Keltie-May Nicoll of Canada.

In addition to the serious competition happening here, local departments have been able to get in on the action to raise money for charity.

"This morning they had a few dozen, I believe, firefighters from all different parts of the Valley compete, and they got to try their hand at their firefighting skills and bring it here to the race," said Phoenix Fire Capt. Joel Navarro.

Whether they were racing for fun or to win the challenge, all the firefighters agree what they're doing out on the course can only help them when they're on the job.

"For one, it helps you focus on the job, you know. You're not going to fatigue. You're not going to injure yourself," Schilleman said.

The time trials run through Thursday.

Third Street between Washington and Jefferson streets is closed down for the event. It should re-open Thursday afternoon.

The finals will be held out at Phoenix International Raceway over the weekend.