By Tony Lopez

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The final test before recruits hoping to graduate from the Sacramento Metro Fire District Academy is called the toughest two minutes in sports.

After 14 weeks at the academy, the 34 men who will graduate on Thursday made it through the Firefighter Combat Challenge.

We talked to recruit Jerrad Grider right after he finished.

“It’s a gas,” he said. “It’s like running as many sprints as you can and then running with something heavy at the end.”

The course starts with recruits hauling a hose up a staircase, then pulling another hose bundle up from the ground. After running back down the stairs, recruits hit a sled with a sledgehammer.

They run around a couple of cones, then grab a hose and pull it 100 feet before spraying a target.

The final challenge is dragging a 165-pound dummy to the finish line.

It’s an individual test, but a team effort to get every man across the finish line, cheering each other on .

“This is 14 weeks where they have grown really tight bonds together, but this needs to carry on throughout their career,” said Sac Metro health and fitness program manager Chris Armstrong.

He’s been whipping these recruits into firefighting shape with both scheduled and surprise physical fitness.

“It could be 3 a.m. and you’re sound asleep, and within 5 minutes, you’re at max effort,” he said.

Former UC Davis football player Callan Baird says the academy was more mentally tough.

“Today was a great challenge. I don’t think it was the hardest, it’s not the hardest thing we’ve done at the academy,” he said. “This is what we live for. this is what it’s all about. every opportunity we have to push ourselves and drive, we’re going to take it. You give me an opportunity to run that course again right now, I’d do it in a second.”

After finishing the challenge, the recruits are rewarded with their custom gear.

“Better than Christmas,” Baird said.

The men may hit the streets in separate assignments, but will always be a part of recruit class 14-1.

The class as a whole lost a combined 110 pounds and gained 77 pounds of muscle.


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