The first two minutes weren't bad. Wes Tibbetts, an athlete and Anchorage firefighter, knew he was in good shape and up for just about any physical challenges. But eight minutes later, his lungs started hurting.
He participated in the Annual Firefighter Step Mill Challenge before, but that did not make it any easier this year. His firefighter gear – turnouts, air packs, helmets and boots – increased his weight to over 250 pounds.
The Firefighter Step Mill Challenge is an annual event, where people honor the victims, who died during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. For 11 minutes, people pushed themselves on a stair climber to see if they could get to all 110 floors – the height of the World Trade Center.
Tibbetts started to slowdown with only one minute to go.
His firefighter cousin, Luke Duffy, jumped beside him to encourage him.
Finally, 11 minutes later, Tibbetts jumped off his machine and tore off his gear. Duffy handed him a bottle water. The final result? He'd reached 104 flights.