Squamish woman wins Climb the Wall's Fastest Female

Firefighter Jayde Quilty on inspiring young girls to compete

Jayde Quilty was one of 146 firefighters running as fast as they could up a 48-storey building.

With a time of 9:58, Quilty finished as 2019's Fastest Female on Feb. 24.

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It was her first time running in Climb the Wall, an annual BC Lung Association fundraiser that sees participants climb 739 steps — and the firefighters are decked out in full gear.

"When everyone's in their gear, you don't even know who's male or female," Quilty said. "It was very much an event where you have to push yourself. It's self-motivated because you don't know how you're doing compared to others. You're kind of racing against yourself."

Since she joined the Vancouver Fire Department last year as a firefighter, Quilty is used to wearing the heavy safety gear. As a Squamish resident, she said fitness is a big part of her life.

Jayde Quilty celebrates her win. - Facebook photo/Crossfit Squamish

"The Climb the Wall training for me was just fitness that I do at Crossfit Squamish for myself, hiking around town, trail running. Honestly, it was just kind of my day-to-day life. I try and move at least five times a week... to keep fit for myself and my job," Quilty said.

She also dedicates her time to running the Girls' Group program out of Crossfit Squamish. When the group was founded five years ago, she started with three girls — now 30 young women take part.

It's a fitness program at the core, but also a mentorship for girls as young as eight years old to their teens. While Quilty hasn't told most of her girls about her latest win yet, those who know have been inspired.

"The ones that do know think it's really cool," Quilty said. "They have expressed a lot of interest in the career of firefighting, now seeing that a female they know is doing it. I think they're excited to see I haven't stopped competing just because I have a new job. They know me as an athlete... I think it's exciting for them to see you can still challenge yourself even if you have a full-time job."

As Quilty gets back to her regular, active life, she's not sure what the next charity fundraiser or competition will be. Whatever the next steps are, Quilty said she'll be at the Climb the Wall next year. Afterall, she now has a time to beat.

"It was pretty cool to find out that racing against myself worked out for the best."


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