Three of Golden’s firefighters will gear up in their full attire and sprint to the top of Calgary’s highest building in a personal challenge and fundraiser to participate in the highest elevation firefighter stair climb in the world.
The Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge will see hundreds of firefighters from across North America climbing the stairs of Calgary’s BOW tower on April 29. Fire chief Dave Balding, Mike Pecora, and Steve Morrison are challenging each other to finish the climb in the fastest time.
Last year, Morrison completed the 56 floors in 17 minutes, and he has been training for the past couple months to beat that time.
“I think firefighters by their nature enjoy a challenge,” he said, adding that it is a total of 1204 steps. “You have to keep moving to be successful… It’s more of a sprint than an endurance event.”
The climb is 775 vertical feet, starting at 3,400 feet above sea level, making the climb the highest elevation firefighter stairclimb in the world.
It is also a fundraiser for Wellspring Calgary, which provides programs, resources, and support with people living with cancer along with their caregivers.
“It’s in support of a massive cause, and it’s also to participate in the camaraderie,” explained Balding, who has participated in the challenge for two years prior to this event. “I know Steve and Mike are competing against each other fiercely, so we will see how that goes.”
Morrison plans to beat his previous time, and Pecora plans to beat Morrison, leading the way for a friendly competition to the top of the tower.
Both firefighters have their own training regimen, they are sure will help them win. All three of the men are in good shape, which is something that is important to their jobs as firefighters.
“I like the challenge, and it is a fundraiser for cancer for members of the fire service,” Pecora said, adding that he has been affected by cancer before. “I have had quite a few family members that have passed away from cancer.”
Pecora is familiar with challenges, as he participates in spartan races, iron man challenges, marathons, and many endurance long distance races.
The local firefighters hope their training and past experiences will help them achieve their time goals, but they have also each set a $500 fundraising goal.
The stair climb in Calgary was inspired by a similar event in Seattle, and is promoted and hosted by the Calgary Firefighters Benevolent Society, whose purpose is to provide assistance to firefighters and their families when they are in need. There are 14 cancers that are recognized as occupational hazards to firefighters.
“Firefighters unfortunately have higher cancer rates than the normal population by a sizable amount,” Morrison added. “So, we’re just looking after our own a little bit by doing this.”
To donate to any of the firefighters, or to find out more about the event, go to www.calgarystairclimb.com.