Dragging a 12 stone dummy over 30 yards and running up six flights of stairs carrying a hose are just some of the challenges two Portadown firefighters faced this week.
Linda McKane and John Purdy were among firefighters from across the globe vying for the title of Ultimate Firefighter in the World Police and Fire Games.
Linda, who has been a member of the Portadown retained fire crew for 13 years, was just one of two women from N Ireland taking part and came home with gold in her category.
The 38-year-old was competing in the 35 plus section and when her Spanish opponent failed to turn up, Linda, in true fighting form, completed the tasks on her own, beating the time of some of the younger women firefighters.
She said, “The atmosphere was brilliant and although I took the events themselves seriously I was joking about before and afterwards.
“The crowds were shouting my name and my family, who live in Gilford, turned up with T-shirts with my picture on them!”
Also cheering on the Armagh Road woman from the sidelines at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast was her partner Russell Hopcraft.
John (27), who lives in Hamiltonsbawn, competed against 35 other competitors in the 18-29 years category and was cheered on by his wife Narelle and children Thomas James (2) and Robyn (1).
The former Portadown Rugby FC player only joined the Fire Service in May, having begun his basic training in January. He said, “All the skills we learnt were fresh in my mind but the one task I thought would be easy turned out to be the hardest and that was dragging the hose and them rolling it up. My legs gave in before my lungs!”
Despite the gruelling exertions, which consisted of the hose task, weight and strength, obstacle course and high rise, both town firefighters described the games as a brilliant experience, and one they would love to do again.
Said Linda, “It was all about short bursts of high intensity activity. The tasks were the type of things I would encounter in my job.”
Linda, who lives on the Armagh Road, took the preparation for the competition very seriously, training for two-and-a-half months by running up and down the fire escape stairs at Craigavon Area hospital.
In addition, she did weight training at the gym - pushing 80kg while dressed in her fire tunic and carrying her apparatus.
She was also closely involved at the start of the games, carrying the torch into the opening ceremony, and taking BBC reporter Claire McCollum up flights of stairs as she tried her hand at being a firefighter.
She said, “You have to have the passion in you to want to do this type of thing. There has been great camaraderie here at the games, with different stations cheering each other on.”
Meanwhile, in other events, Portadown station firefighter Craig Young won two bronze medals in archery while Rory McIntyre competed in the cycling, Peter Robinson in the half marathon and Marty Corr in the half marathon and Gaelic football.