Hurricane Irene was tough on New York City. Darren Posyluzny was tougher.
Posyluzny, a 42-year-old correctional manager at the Bowden Institution, recently returned home from the 2011 New York World Police and Fire Games (WPFG) with the title “toughest competitor alive.”
The games ran from Aug. 26 to Sept. 5 in the Big Apple and featured over 15,000 law enforcement and fire department competitors from around the world competing in over 60 sports, including track and field, shooting, rugby, table tennis, darts and cycling.
Irene’s arrival in New York on Aug. 28 forced WPFG officials to reschedule some events and cancel others. Seven of Posyluzny’s colleagues from the Bowden Institution also travelled to the games, though many were unable to compete after the bodybuilding competition was officially scrubbed.
The toughest competitor alive (TCA) competition features eight events, or “phases”: a five-kilometre cross-country run, the shot put, the 100-metre dash, a 100-metre swim, a 20-foot rope climb, the bench press, pull-ups and an obstacle course.
“We started at about seven in the morning and by the time the medals were done we finished at about eight at night,” Posyluzny explained, saying competitors had between 30 minutes to an hour to relax between events.
Posyluzny’s score of 5487.47 was good enough for the gold medal in the master men – heavyweight division, easily outpacing his closest competitor – a member of the Gurnee Police Department in the United States.
After hearing about the event from a friend in 1998, Posyluzny decided to give it a try. He first attended the WPFG in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2001 and picked up his first medal, a gold, in Quebec City in 2005. He also picked up a silver medal at the 2007 games in Adelaide, Australia and another gold at the 2009 games in Vancouver.
Given that the event fell near the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and featured a record number of competitors, Posyluzny said his latest gold ranks as one of his biggest career accomplishments.
“Each one is kinda special in its own way,” he said, noting the first gold was memorable because it happened on home turf. “Being the10th anniversary and being the biggest and best games it meant a lot. At the end of the obstacle course when it was all said and done you get kind of emotional and clamped up a bit.”
The father of two boys, Brayden and Joshua, Posyluzny said he spends the majority of the year training to keep himself in tip-top condition. He is also a coach with the Red Deer Titans Track & Field Club. Both of his sons and his wife Terra travelled to New York City with him.
“You go from one little mini competition in the even years and then the odd years when you have these big ones,” he said. “So it’s kind of a consistent training. It doesn’t really stop.”
In July Brayden set a provincial record in triple jump at the Tri-Province Meet in Regina. He often trains beside his father.
“He’s a spitting image of me, he’s right by my side when I’m training. Although he’s only 14 he’s very technical and he kind of keeps me focused. So he’s right there and he shares it with me – it’s awesome.”