Carrying an extra 65 pounds will slow down, but won’t stop, a group of firefighters lacing up their shoes Saturday.
A few dozen firefighters from the Augusta area will run a 5k race wearing their heavy firefighting gear to raise money for fellow brethren battling cancer. About 60 other supporters will also join the race.
“Instead of running a 6-minute mile, you run a 14-minute mile,” said race organizer Phillip Weathers, a firefighter at Savannah River Site. “You have to go a lot slower.”
Proceeds from the race will support two local firefighters undergoing treatment for cancer. The family of a third firefighter who died from cancer will also benefit from the race.
The local race was inspired by a group of South Carolina firefighters that started running races in their gear to bring attention to the rates of cancer among firefighters. Numerous health studies have found increased rates of cancer among firefighters, possibly because of exposure to contaminants known or suspected to cause cancer.
“A lot of people run races for good causes but we are upping the ante. Firefighters are notorious for doing that,” Weathers said.