Fire brigade running in Geraldton

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
Meet Geraldton's junior brigade running squad. The team includes Bodhi McCann (far right), a Junior State Champion and son of coach Brendan McCann.
Camera IconMeet Geraldton's junior brigade running squad. The team includes Bodhi McCann (far right), a Junior State Champion and son of coach Brendan McCann. Credit: Tamra Carr, The Geraldton Guardian.

There are only two places in the Mid West which host the obscure sport Brendan McCann plays.

According to him, there’s not even an exact name for it.

“People know what football is, they know what soccer is,” the Geraldton man said. “But when I say I do fire brigade running, people look at me and go ‘What’s that’?”

It’s first and foremost a running competition influenced by an old-school style of firefighting.

Athletes run, they set up hoses, they blast targets with water.

McCann started competing in 1996 and six years later he signed up to fight fires. He’s now captain of the Walkaway Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade and coaches Geraldton’s junior running squad.

The only other team in the region is in Mt Magnet.

“There used to be more, but they just folded,” McCann said. “We’re working on setting up a seniors team in Geraldton, we just have to sort out a training track.”

While McCann attempts to ramp up interest among adults, local juniors have been impressing brigades around the State with their performances in Perth.

Last November, the side took part in the WA Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services Association’s running championships, and scooped a handful of medallions.

Multiple first-time runners earned themselves a prize and 16-year-old Bodhi McCann took out Champion Junior Firefighter, the highest award for an individual.

While it looks like Bodhi may be following his father’s footsteps, the elder McCann said his son is not sure whether he wants to be a career or volunteer firefighter yet.

Right now he’s just happy to be part of the 12-strong junior team.

“We’ve improved, evolved,” the elder McCann said. “In Perth, they tell the other brigades to be mindful of us. We’re competitive on the track.”

Geraldton volunteer firefighters are pushing for the set up of more running squads around the Mid West, to build a new regional zone.

Phone the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service in Webberton on 9921 3207 for more information.

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