While some runners in the California International Marathon will run in flimsy singlets and shorts, four first-responders will be trying to finish 26.2 miles in their heavy work clothes.
That means full turnout coats, heavy trousers and leather helmets for three Sacramento Fire Department firefighters and a bullet-resistant vest, uniform and holstered service weapon for a Folsom Police Department officer.
It’s all in the name of a good cause for firefighters Capt. Mike Mora, Richard Alamo and Chuck Godtfredsen and Officer Eric Baade, who want to raise awareness and funds for different causes.
The amateurs will run far behind an elite field Sunday on a fast course that takes runners from Folsom Dam to the state Capitol. The field for the 33rd edition of CIM will feature 2014 men’s champion Jacob Chemtai of Kenya and 2014 women’s runner-up and former Sacramento area resident Jane Kibii.
CIM begins at 7 a.m., and it can be cold and windy. Some runners shop at secondhand stores for used windbreakers or sweatshirts that they discard after their bodies have warmed up a few miles into the race.
That won’t be the case for the firefighters and officer Baade. They plan to finish fully outfitted to extinguish a fire or arrest a bad guy.
CIM race director Eli Asch welcomed the first responders to the marathon.
“Most marathoners try to carry as little weight as possible,” Asch said. “But these guys are willing to go the extra mile and carry those extra pounds in order to raise awareness for their causes.”
Firefighters Mora, Alamo and Godtfredsen are running to raise money for the Sacramento Children’s Receiving Home and the Fire Family Foundation. The Receiving Home helps children who suffer from abuse and neglect and the Fire Family Foundation assists people in need. Donations are handled through the Fire Family Foundation.
All three firefighters have run marathons before. Mora will be running his first race since knee surgery.
Turnouts are used when fighting structure fires, allowing firefighters to enter super-heated burning buildings. The three have not yet trained in turnouts and helmets.
“We are going to do that once: the day of the race,” said Mora.
Mora estimated the pants and coat will weigh a combined 15 pounds. The helmet, with chin strap, adds about another 4 pounds.
One exception to the usual firefighting outfit is the footwear to be worn during the race. Firefighters have decided to wear running shoes rather than boots.
The veteran firefighters are shooting for a finish in 5 hours and 14 minutes – one minute faster than a Bay Area firefighter who ran CIM in turnouts.
Folsom Officer Baade hopes to bring awareness and support to families of fallen officers.
Money donated on a gofundme page will be used to help his motorcycle team attend the Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week in Washington, D.C., where they will escort families of fallen officers attending events. Any proceeds above travel costs will be donated to the Northern California chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors.
Baade, who has run CIM twice, started incorporating portions of his uniform and extra weight in his training a couple of months ago.
He will be in long pants and uniform shirt during the marathon. He will also have hot, heavy body armor under his shirt.
On his duty belt will be his firearm, pepper spray, handcuffs and magazines of ammunition. Total extra weight of duty belt and uniform comes in at about 14 pounds.
He will not run in hard shoes because he wants to run the entire course, not walk. He will run in black running shoes to stay away from blisters.
“I’d like to run the CIM in 4 hours and 30 minutes,” he said. “But my goal is to finish and honor fallen officers.”