FAIRFAX FIREFIGHTER WINS SILVER, BRONZE

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Fairfax firefighter Sam Gray
Fairfax firefighter Sam Gray

Fairfax’s Sam Gray Bests Competition in Indoor Rowing, Mountain Running

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue firefighter Sam Gray won a silver medal in 2000-meter indoor rowing and bronze in mountain running at the 2013 World Police & Fire Games here.

“This was the very first time I had even seen a rowing event besides on YouTube and it was pretty exciting,” said Gray, who lives and works in Fairfax County, Va., and was only introduced to indoor rowing eight months ago. “You’re facing away from the crowd and you can hear them screaming.”

The 2013 Games in Belfast feature a group of about 60 men and women from the National Capital Region who are part of a large contingent of American competitors. The World Police & Fire Games are one of the largest multi-sport, multi-venue athletic events in the world, drawing more than 12,000 competitors from police, fire and public safety agencies from more 70 countries.  The Games will be hosted by Fairfax 2015 in the National Capital Region in two years.

Gray planned to compete in indoor rowing and had trained so hard for the aerobic challenge that he decided to try the 8K mountain race in the peaks of the Mourne Mountains outside of Newcastle in Northern Ireland. He surprised himself winning a bronze medal.

“The competition was pretty steep,” said Gray. “I took off and thought I was going to go for a jog through the nice mountains and it ended up being pretty rough. Everybody was suffering. I was going as fast as I could and it worked out.”

Gray is looking forward to bringing the Games back to Fairfax and the National Capital Region in 2015.

“Promoting the athletic events and being able to take that back to everybody’s physical fitness for the fire service and police service, it’s one of the most important things we have for overall health and strength and being able to do our jobs. Firemen and police are the same across the board no matter where you go in the world and that’s been pretty amazing,” Gray said.