British Firefighter Challenge 2017: The Results

On 29th July 2017, the second British Firefighter Challenge event went underway at Leicester’s De Montford University campus.

Following the successes of Firestyle’s sponsorship of the first ever British Firefighter Challenge the year previous, Firestyle continued with its sponsorship of the event.

This year’s competition saw over 100 firefighters take part, from countries including; Germany, Austria, Gibraltar, and as far as Australia and Canada!

Over 20 English fire and rescue services across the UK represented in the event, ranging from Scotland to Hampshire.

Firefighters competed in a series of operational tasks, which included; stair running, hauling aloft, forcible entry techniques, hose running, equipment carrying, and a casualty race. Finishing times ranged from the winning time of 2 minutes and 44 seconds by German competitor Martin Hebenstreit, to just over 9 minutes.

The Idea:

The idea for the British Firefighter Challenge started when a group of British firefighters attended the European Championships of the Toughest Firefighter Alive in Hannover, Germany back in June 2015. After many competitors had expressed their desires for a competitive UK event, talks ensued.

Watch manager Kevin Ruane MBE from the Nottinghamshire fire and rescue service was Team GB co-ordinator, and following discussions with Team GB members, promptly decided to move forward with the event.

The organisational team consisted of Ken Ruane and Chris Trendowicz from Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, John Gregory from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, and Michael Joseph and Rob Budge from Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service. They set about planning the event as a major international competition to meet the high standards demonstrated to them at a number of other locations around the world.

This year’s event was organised mostly by John Gregory, with fantastic support from both Leicester Fire and Rescue Service and Leicester’s De Montford University.

The Events:

Stage 1 – Stair Ascent
Not So Easy In Heavy Gear
Competitors will start at the base of the three-story tower, both feet on the ground, competitors may have one or both hands on the hand rails provided prior to the stair climb. On the sounding of the start horn, the competitor will ascend the stairs to the top of the tower. Competitors may climb more than one step at a time on the way up but they must use the external handrail provided at all times within the marked off areas.

Stage 2 – Hose Haul
They’re Heavier Than They Look
Once a competitor has reached the top of the tower, they must haul up one length of 70mm delivery hose provided by Angus Fire, this must be hauled over the guard rail provided and then placed into the box provided.

Stage 3 – Stair Descent
Down Is No Easier Than Up
Upon placing the hose in the box, the competitor must then descend the tower to the ground floor, whilst descending the stairs, the competitor must step on every single step and have one hand on the external handrail within the marked off areas.

Stage 4 – Keiser Force Machine
Move A Heavy Weight With A Heavy Hammer
Following the stairs, the competitor then proceeds by the marked route to the Forcible Entry Machine built and sponsored by Corhaven. The competitor must have both feet on the platform and using the hammer provided, hit the weight the full distance of the Corhaven machine.

Stage 5 – Hose Drag
It Gets Heavier With Every Step
The competitor will connect a length of 70mm lay flat delivery hose to a light portable pump delivery (hose and LPP provided by Angus Fire), they will then go to the end of the hose, pick up the branch and drag the hose 60 metres to a marker line, the branch must be dropped over the line to complete this section.

Stage 6 – Hose Make Up
Roll, Lift, Carry, Drop
Following the hose drag, the competitor will proceed to the hose make up area where one length of 70mm lay flat delivery hose (provided by Angus Fire) will be rolled out on the floor, the competitor must roll up the hose and once completed, carry it to the box provided and place it inside. The hose must be placed fully inside the box.

Stage 7 – Container Carry
Four Heavy Foam Containers
Four foam containers weighing approx 20kg each will be collected from one area and placed in another area a short distance away, the containers must be placed in the marked area provided and not thrown or slid into the area.

Stage 8 – Casualty Rescue
Drag A 70kg Dummy To The Finish Line
A 70kg drill dummy (provided by Ruth Lee) must be dragged from its location to a finish line, the competition will be completed only when the dummy is completely over the finish line.

The Results:

Overall Winners


1st Place

2nd Place

3rd Place

British Matt Coulthard Robert Budge John Gregory
Fire Service Hertfordshire Leicestershire London
M Open Soren Warzok Magnus Metj Terry Funnel
M 30 John Gregory Shaun Holroyd William McLaren
M 35 Martin Hebenstreit Matt Coulthard Robert Budge
M 40 Lee Phillips Richard Wilds Karsten Kohrs
M 45 Robert Green Michael Joseph Uwe Heise
M 50 Rolando Rivas Alonso Alan Smith Gert Struck
Ladies Group Petra Buresch Laura Noble Tara Kirkham

Next year’s British Firefighter Challenge will be held in Suffolk, and the team will also be present at the Emergency Services Show at The NEC, Birmingham 20-21st September 2017.

For information about future events please visit the British Firefighter Challenge Facebook page.