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HULL

Firefighter thrives on ‘American Ninja Warrior’

Friends and fellow Hull firefighters have known for a while that David Cavanagh is a ninja; now they know he is a really fast ninja.

Cavanagh competes in NBC’s extreme obstacle course show “American Ninja Warrior,” and in the episode that aired on Sept. 11 he finished the first stage of the challenging National Finals in Las Vegas in less than two minutes.

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His time was the seventh-fastest of the night. “It crushed any expectations I had of myself; it was pretty amazing,” he said afterward.

Cavanagh has been competing for four years, standing in line for hours to get a chance to jump across moving pipes, swing from ropes, run up a warped wall, and confront other obstacles with names like the “flying squirrel,” “propeller bar,” “jumping spider,” and “double dipper.”

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He said the nine obstacles on stage one played to his strengths, since they didn’t focus on the rock-climbing skills featured in many other American Ninja courses.

“I’m not that slow, methodical person,” he said. “I’m more about getting through as fast as possible. I like to move fast.”

Cavanagh and his fiancé, Jenny Lawler, run Team Awesome Fitness gym in Weymouth. She was there to watch him in Las Vegas -- with his American hairless terrier, Parker -- and has competed in American Ninja in the past. This year’s she’s training for a 100-mile ultra marathon instead.

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Cavanagh said his attempt at stage two of the four-stage finals will air later in September.

Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com.
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