A team of Upper Arlington firefighters came out on top of more than 30 central Ohio fire divisions earlier this month during the Climb for a Cure - Battle of the Badges competition.

A team of Upper Arlington firefighters came out on top of more than 30 central Ohio fire divisions earlier this month during the Climb for a Cure - Battle of the Badges competition.

Held each year during the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, the competition raises both awareness and funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Six UA firefighters competed in the event, making up one four-person team and a two-person team. Firefighters Rex Holman, Justin Farley, Mike Lenix and Dave Wheeler took first place among all firefighter relay teams, while UA Lt. Drew Durbin and firefighter Bob Nichols were the fastest two-person relay team that competed in the event, according to fire division spokesman Dan Kochensparger.

As part of the competition, which took place March 3 in the 40-story Rhodes State Office Tower, each relay team of firefighters climbs 10 stories to tag the hand of the person waiting to start the next leg of the race. Each firefighter wears 60 pounds of firefighting gear and self-contained breathing apparatus, and must have his or her mask in place, breathing air from the tanks, Kochensparger said.

Fire Chief Jeff Young said that the success of UA's team speaks highly of their personal commitment to being the best at what they do.

"The fitness level required of firefighting has been compared to that of an extreme sport," Young said. "The continued success of the UAFD personnel at the Climb for a Cure event speaks volumes about their personal commitment to their profession and the charitable cause."

Upper Arlington's four-man relay team climbed to the top of the Rhodes Tower with a time of four minutes and 15 seconds, beating the second-place team (from Mount Vernon) by more than a minute. The team of Durbin and Nichols finished with a time of eight minutes and 31 seconds, beating out the Columbus Fire Department team by five seconds.

Upper Arlington's firefighters have taken part in the competition since 2007, placing first every year except for 2010, when the team placed second and third, Kochensparger said.

According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, volunteers managed to raise more than $300,000 during the 2010 national Climb for a Cure event.