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Firefighter Hayley Dun is no stranger to stair climbs, usually competing in at least 2 a year. We caught up with her having just wrapped up the 2019 Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb and she spoke about some pretty frustrating things that happened on the day that took a bit of shine away from her amazing accomplishment.
The 2019 Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb is all about of “stepping up to fight depression, PTSI and suicide” by climbing the 28 floors of the Crown Metropol Hotel wearing 25kgs of turnout gear and breathing apparatus.
Because the climb is held in September, firefighters are assigned one of the 343 fallen Firefighter’s of 9/11 onto their racecards to climb in memory of.
Now, if climbing those 28 floors in turnout gear and BA wasn’t enough, Haley decided to take it to the next level and sling a line of 70mm hose over her shoulders on the way up.
“This year I decided to step it up a notch and carry a line of 70mm with me. Collectively the weight of all of my gear was estimated to be just above my body weight.”
“Many people have asked why I chose to do that and couldn’t understand it. A challenge I chose as a personal one, that most of the firefighters the day of 9/11 went up the twin towers carrying this size hose.”
To travel down to Melbourne, take part in the climb, carry additional and significant extra weight is a herculean effort. But this is where things get disappointing – but not on account of Firefighter Dun.
“A lot of the people at the climb were doubting me and actually I had some pretty rude comments from people not believing I could do it – that made it even more motivating to get up there.”
“People were either saying ‘you can’t be serious you won’t make it up there with that’, ‘your gear weighs more than you’, ‘are you kidding yourself’, lots of sarcastic toned remarks of ‘yeah good luck with that’.
I even had a guy come up to me later on that day and he said ‘look I have to be honest, there was a group of us saying look here’s firefighter barbie – what floor do you reckon she’ll give up or drop the hose’.
I was pretty stoked when this same guy said ‘but you just proved everyone wrong!'”.
Hayley made it to the top, with turnout gear on, wearing BA (on air, mind you!) AND with the line of 70mm hose slung over her shoulders… AND she placed in the top 30 for females who climbed on air.
Stick that is your dismissive pipe and smoke it, naysayers. A climb like this takes sheer will, force and determination and to go against the odds with extra gear and a bunch of dismissive onlookers – that takes something special.
To get to the top and look down on those who said she couldn’t do it, that must have felt pretty bloody good. Good on you Firefighter Dun, keep doing what you’re doing and we look forward to seeing you crush yet another goal.
If you ever wanted inspiration to get out and take part in one of these climbs, look no further than this.
I founded Flashover to promote Australian Firefighting. I’ve been a volunteer and a paid firefighter but now I spend my time chasing up leads, promoting good mental health and making the occasional Grumpy Firecom comic!