Enumclaw firefighters joined hundreds of fire departments from around the world in conquering all 69 flights and 1,311 steps of the Columbia Tower on Sunday as part of the Scott's Firefighter Challenge.
The annual event requires participants to tackle the grueling climb in full firefighting gear and supports the mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, raising money through sponsorships, individual and department fund-raising, and entry fees.
When Patch last checked in with the firefighers, ; since the weekend, they've raised $4,725 with a new goal to hit $6,000. To make a donation, click here.
On the actual climb, Enumclaw's top finisher was Lyle Bellah, with a time of 13:57—or an average of 13 seconds per flight. Bellah finished 28th out of a total of 1,473 participants and sixth in his age division.
Maryn Otto was the top female finisher from Enumclaw, completing the climb with a time of 22:14—a 20-second flight average—and finishing eighth in her age group.
Otto, who had hoped to come in sub-20, shared her reflections on the day and on her performance with Patch:
Yeah, my goal missed its mark. By far. Now, I think I'm more than ok with that too. I had a fantastic climb this year! It was the typical hot-horridness. I wanted it over with from the 5th floor. But I kept climbing. I stepped up 1,311 stairs today, sucking too warm air from my sweaty, dripping mask. My gear felt like it weighed more than a 100lbs and it was hot! My stomach was turning and I cringed as people passed me.
...I remember each those volunteers and firefighters that slapped me a high five or clapped me on the back. People cheered me on and never ceased with the positive encouragement. Each floor, a huge poster with a cancer patient's smiling face made me take another flight. And another until, yet again, another selfless person was up above me, making eye contact, and rooting for me to finish and not give up!
...I didn't finish the stairs the fastest, nor did I reach my goal this year. But I did finish the stairs today. I did it and realized my goal was never for me. It was for every cancer patient that was, is, and will be....
Andrew Drobeck of Missoula (MT) City Fire placed first, finishing the tower in 10:48, or 10 seconds a flight average. The top female finisher was Georgia Sanz Daniels of Graham Fire & Rescue, with a time of 14:22, or 13 seconds per flight.
Along with Lyle and Otto, other finishers from Enumclaw include:
Steven Lentz, 14:48, 13 seconds per flight
Joey Pierotti, 15:03, 14 seconds per flight
Julia Freeburg, 23:17, 21 seconds per flight
Nona Zilbauer, 25:05, 22 seconds per flight
Kyle Jacobson, 32:42, 29 seconds per flight
Jeri Freeburg, 43:04, 38 seconds per flight