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Month: November 2014

Steppin up in Philly

Steppin up in Philly

IMG_9875What a long and fast weekend this past one was as I competed in the Step up For Special Olympics stair climb in Philadelphia, PA.  This was my second time out there competing in the 53-floor climb up the BNY Mellon building in full firefighting gear.  Last year I spent a couple days out there and had a time of 19:39.  This year however after a lot more rigorous training and work I pulled together a very solid 16:38 time that I think I still can improve on.

Parking is always interesting there because there is no street parking near the building…at least none that we wanted to risk it on and that was probably the only downside at all.  Overall, this is a very well ran event with a great building to continue to grow and add more participants.  For the location, the number of climbers is surprisingly small for this time of year and the cost very small compared to other events.  I met a firefighter that made the trek up from North Carolina (wow) to visit friends and climb in the event.  It’s always great to compete with other firefighters and see those that are doing what it takes to stay #firefighterfit and do good.

Could have probably set the alarm a little earlier on this one, but after getting up at 5am the morning before and spending 8 ½ hours in the car I really wanted the downtime.  I started the morning out with a good meal of fresh hot oatmeal, fruit and yogurt and started hydrating well in advance.  Mental note to those new climbers, figure out where that event morning breakfast is coming from and what you want.  Get that water or hydration drinks and keep them in your room fridge for the morning!!!  You don’t want to be searching for last minute items on game day.

I arrived at the tower to get checked in with no issues at all and setup camp over around the perimeter where I could see the lineup, see other events, and hear the announcements.  Maybe I’m different, maybe everyone has their own way of doing it, but I like my own space to set things up and visualize it all.  Even if I’ve already checked everything out before I left home, upon arriving at the hotel, and that morning before I leave I want to know where everything is.  The hydration continued, as did a small snack about 30 minutes before the climb.  I did my usual pre-climb warm-up involving yoga, some running, and some climbing to loosen up the body.

I keep that gear off as long as I can when possible.  Even if others are lining up, the longer I can keep that heat off my body and regulate the temp, the better off I am.  With several people off ahead of me I geared up, turned on the cameras, and headed toward the starting line.  Don’t forget to take that bottle of water with you.  Even if you have to ditch it at the last minute, I’ve been to races where a delay held you up 20-45 minutes and wishing I had something to keep hydrating with!!! 

I met back up again with Touche from North Carolina as we talked briefly before the climb.  A few more brief sips of water and it was my turn.  I was poised as the timer counted us down, releasing climbers every 10-15 seconds and when I heard GO I took off.  It might be a second, might be a split second difference, but that start is one thing I have improved on.  I maintained a nice pace for the first 25 before the heat started to really pick up.  Honestly the tower felt cool, which doesn’t happen very often.  By this point I also realized that I forgot the hard tack candy to keep from getting the “climber cough” from the stair well.  I continued on and relied on my arms to pull me through a few tough floors and drag up the steps and swing around the landings.

The last few floors were, “easy”, I guess you could say.  Either that or I was delirious and happy to be at the end so they flew.  The top of this building if you haven’t been there and are curious is not much to look at.  Its and office floor and you can’t access the outside windows for that cool finish selfie, but in my books is still an awesome climb.  I knew I had a sub 17-minute time so I knew I accomplished my goal, but it took about 45 minutes before I knew for sure.

Overall, great climb, and being able to have people at the finish line is even better!  I’m still looking for video that the news had from out there and hoping to see that FCFD or the FF4CURES website on the news.  I certainly have gotten some more exposure over the last few months and the hits to the blog show it.

I know where to make the improvements already for not only the next climb, but more importantly Seattle.  Every event is a training for something bigger and exactly why I keep at these, to GET BETTER.   I’ve got a busy Thanksgiving week with two races right now, another around the corner in December, and plans that extend into the new year.  I hope to have another article written here in the next few days to keep this fresh.


PRESS RELEASE – Local Firefighter, Ambassador for Seattle Firefighter Climb

PRESS RELEASE – Local Firefighter, Ambassador for Seattle Firefighter Climb


November 9, 2014

Contact: Lt. Jason Bostic – FFII/PIO/CFSI
Tel: (740) 627-1664

sarah (136)FREDERICKTOWN – Over the last eight years local firefighter, Lieutenant Jason Bostic of the Fredericktown Community Fire District has competed in the Scott Firefighter Stair Climb in Seattle, WA, but for the March 8, 2015 climb, that role got a little bigger. Bostic, a year round competitor at other climbs and events has now added “Ambassador” to his title as he will be a go to contact for firefighters in the Central and Eastern United States that are competing in the event for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“It was a huge decision that I debated, but when you see and know what this event does and means to so many, you can’t help be get more involved,” said Lt. Bostic. “I’ve watched the climb change so much in the last eight years, I wanted to be a bigger part of working with the people to champion it forward.”

This year the event has increased the participate numbers to a total of 1925 that can compete in the day long race that will bring firefighters from not just around the United States, but the world. This year 322 fire departments from 22 states and three countries are represented.

Bostic and other competitors will race up 69 floors to the top of the Columbia Center tower that stands at 788 feet and is the second tallest building west of the Mississippi. It will take firefighters 1311 grueling steps to reach the top and the will do the event wearing full firefighter gear and a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) while breathing only the air they have on their back. The gear that Bostic wears adds an additional 45 pounds to his normal bodyweight.

“Yes, it’s a challenge, yes it’s a race, its brutal at times, but it is far less painful and difficult compared to those that are fighting forms of Leukemia and Lymphoma. Every training day, every event, every race, and every step until I finish, that is a constant reminder,” said Bostic. “When you listen to honorees, survivors, and family of those that are fighting or have lost a battle, it puts things in perspective. It pushes you, and when you get to do this event with 1925 brother firefighters, it makes it all that more meaningful.”

In preparation, Bostic has continued throughout the year traveling to 21 runs and stair climbs for a variety of causes to compete and prepare for the Seattle event. Events aren’t the only means of preparation for Bostic though, who aims to stay firefighter fit. He works out at the YMCA and Fitness Dynamics, both in Mount Vernon several times a week with a variety of exercise from running, climbing, biking, lifting weights, aerobics, intense interval training, and yoga. The classes and time spent prepares and challenges the cardiorespiratory system that is pushed to the max in competition and on the fire scene.

“I’ve seen the changes, it takes work and determination, and there are no shortcuts. I remember what it was like when I started this journey for my first climb in 2007” said Bostic. “Events like these really encourage us to take fitness seriously, because the lack thereof is taking the lives of firefighters.”

This will be the ninth time he has competed in the event, and has raised $14,454.93 in the first eight years participating. For this climb, Bostic has set a goal of $2,500 in fundraising and to beat his own PR of 29:01 to the top of the tower.

“I want to challenge myself to be better in the fundraising, its difficult with the state of the economy. My hope is that people realize that every single penny makes a difference,” said Bostic.

Bostic’s motivation for participating in the event was his mother Peggy’s illness of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia that nearly took her life in 1986. Her long battle with CML continued to slowly kill her until she received a bone marrow transplant in 1990. The unmatched, unrelated bone marrow transplant was the first of its kind at The Ohio State University Medical Center and was before the James Cancer Institute came to fruition. Without fundraisers and funding for research, her life may not have been saved. She has been in remission since 1993 and continues to live a healthy life.

“I can’t payback the efforts of what the L&LS and their research did to save my mom, but I can pay it forward and make sure it is there for someone else,” Bostic added.

Recognized as the largest individual firefighting competition in the world, the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb is sponsored by Scott Health & Safety and has attracted competitors from around the world. In 2014, over 1800 firefighters representing over 281 departments raised a record $1.97 Million for the Society.

For more information about his climb and to donate you can visit his personal website at and follow the link on the right side of the page to the Scott Firefighter Stair Climb fundraiser.