Kamloops, Salmon Arm wildfire firefighters featured on Amazon Prime’s 'World’s Toughest Race' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops, Salmon Arm wildfire firefighters featured on Amazon Prime’s 'World’s Toughest Race'

Image Credit: Brian Finestone & Amazon Prime Video
September 12, 2020 - 8:41 AM

A group of firefighters who battle blazes together out of Salmon Arm took their teamwork abilities to a whole new level while competing in the “World’s Toughest Race.”

Featured on Amazon Prime and hosted by Bear Grylls, the Eco-Challenge is a round-the-clock expedition where international teams of adventure athletes race non-stop, 24 hours a day across hundreds of miles of remote backcountry terrain.

Taking 11 days to complete, each team is comprised of four competitors and all teams are supported by an assistant crew member who is responsible for resupplying the four athletes on their team at key points along the course, according to Amazon's website.

Kamloops resident Jasper Edge, along with team captain Ben Kwiatkowski, from Squamish, spoke to iNFOnews about their experience in Fiji for the challenge with their teammates Elora van Jarrett and Thomas Hardy from Salmon Arm, and team assistant crew Laure Lejeune from Squamish.

The crew members were already well-versed in working together as part of Salmon Arm’s rapattack wildfire firefighting team.

Image Credit: Brian Finestone & Amazon Prime Video

One of the very early races was held in B.C. and the Eco-Challenge made a name for itself on the Lower Mainland, said Kwiatkowski, who reached out to his colleagues when he heard there was an opportunity to compete.

The further along the team got, the tougher the race became.

“We were dealing with exhaustion, we were dealing with sickness,” Kwiatkowski said. “Pushing our bodies to the limit of physical and mental exhaustion was quite difficult.”

Team Peak Pursuit placed 32nd out of 66 different teams from 34 countries. But they were just happy to finish the race, filled with biking, paddle boarding, climbing, canoeing and more.

“There were a number of teams that didn’t make it across the finish line,” Kwiatkowski said.

They’d love to compete again and have already submitted an application to compete in Patagonia, South America.

From left to right: Jasper Edge, Elora van Jarrett, Ben Kwiatkowski, Laure Lejeune and Thomas Hardy all competed in the latest Eco-Challenge Fiji race.
From left to right: Jasper Edge, Elora van Jarrett, Ben Kwiatkowski, Laure Lejeune and Thomas Hardy all competed in the latest Eco-Challenge Fiji race.
Image Credit: Brian Finestone & Amazon Prime Video

One of the highlights for Edge was during the middle of the race when the team had to climb the 1000-foot Vera falls.

“We just threw up those ropes… passed a number of teams and then got slowed a bit where the temperature dropped to around 11 C,” he said. “Standing on top of the waterfall, that was pretty incredible, I was so privileged to be there with the team.”

You can watch the race for yourself on Amazon Prime.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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