On Saturday, December 3, 2022, our charity firefighter stair race was held at the Strojarska VDM building in Zagreb. The race is the main event of a charity campaign that has been taking place for ten consecutive years. Even during the pandemic, the charity campaign and race were virtual, but we didn’t break the tradition. For the past five years, including 2022, donations have been collected for the Kolibrići Association, an organization for parents of critically ill children. These are the children who cannot survive without constant medical care.
This year’s race was special in every way. It was the 10th anniversary race, with 382 participants registered, and 322 participants finishing it, which is more than ever before. But that’s not all. Although the race has been international since the first year, with firefighters from Slovenia always running with us, this year we had participants from six countries: Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, France, and Croatia.
Firefighters from all over Croatia participated, from Dubrovnik, Split, Knin, and Drniš, Gospić, Brač and Krk, Senj, Rijeka, Poreč and Rovinj, Karlovac, Varaždin and Čakovec, Zagreb, Bjelovar, Novska, all the way to Daruvar, Đakovo, Vukovar, and many other cities and places.
In addition to operational firefighters from public fire brigades and voluntary fire departments, children and youth from voluntary organizations also ran in the Easy category. The children’s race was 88 steps long. The fastest in that category was Leon Čurila from the Varaždin Breg Fire Department, and among the girls, it was Tia Kišasondi from the Sesvetski Kraljevec Volunteer Fire Department.
After equipping themselves with gear, helmets, gloves, structural firefighting protective clothing, boots, with or without breathing apparatus, firefighters have the task of conquering 666 steps of the double staircase in the shortest possible time. In addition, firefighters exit the building on the ground floor, make a circle around it, and then return to the building, continuing up the same staircase to the top floor, where there is a terrace with a view of Zagreb.
Among the firefighters in the Light category, without an isolation apparatus, Ante Rajkovača from the Sesvetski Kraljevec Volunteer Fire Department won, and among women, Adrienn Spisak-Acs from Hungary. In the slightly more challenging Open category, with an isolation apparatus and a composite cylinder, Domen Pavlič from Slovenia won, and among women, it was Dijana Vanjek from the Novska Fire Department. In the toughest category, Strong, with an isolation apparatus and a steel cylinder, Luka Stepišnik from Slovenia won, and among women, it was Jasmina Kadija from the Zagreb Fire Department.
The Kolibrići who were the reason for the race cheered on the participants and were present at the awards ceremony for the fastest racers. It is worth mentioning that the fastest competitors reach the top in just five minutes. Sponsors ensured that the participants were rewarded with some symbolic prizes, but the common charity goal of this race is more important than any other victory.
Regardless of the official winners, all firefighters who completed and participated in this race are winners because once again they selflessly engaged in charity work and raised enough funds to help seven families supported by the Kolibrići Association.
Other citizens also joined the charity and donated through an auction on the Facebook page and by purchasing the T-shirt “Get involved, get a T-shirt like mine.”
The funds that were collected are intended
for the purchase of:
Bathing aid, Used medical bed with mattress, Three seats for proper positioning of the child, Home oxygen bottle filling system, Cell activation therapy devices for better blood circulation and faster regenerative healing related to pressure ulcers.
This year’s race in numbers:
- 382 registered participants
- 322 finished the race
- 1 skyscraper
- 31 floors
- 666 steps
- 203 068 climbed steps
- 8 sponsors
- 22 volunteers
Comments from the race volunteers:
As volunteers, we can say that we truly enjoyed the race. As it was our first time participating, we were pleasantly surprised by the excellent organization and the event itself. We had fun and we enjoyed it from start to finish. We really love it when you can see that you helped someone. We believe that in the coming years, this event could reach an even higher level, with more volunteers, participants, funds raised, and families receiving help.” Matej i Maja
“I have participated in various races before, but always as a competitor. This was my first time volunteering, and I am very happy that it was at such a special race. It’s special because it’s a race exclusively for firefighters, people who have chosen to be the ones providing help and protection to anyone in need. The charity significance of the race is also unique which makes my heart even fuller, as I witnessed firsthand how people willingly and selflessly donate for children who are critically ill and in need of both love and tangible material support. I am grateful and happy because I had the opportunity to be a small part of the wheel of love.” Dubravka
The most common and favorite comment from the participants was, “See you next year, we’ll be back!”
The overall results can be found on the website https://www.stotinka.hr/hrv/dogadjaj/1784 and the photos taken by volunteer photographers can be seen on the website: https://www.zagreb-firefighter-stair-challenge.com.hr/