So anytime I need something, my very Italian son-in-law is always saying, “I know a Guy“! (Ya gotta say it in your best Marlon Brando Godfather voice) Well, I know a guy as well. His name is Brian Hackenburg!
As you might guess from the pic above, Brian is a Firefighter. He started out as a Volunteer Fireman then was hired as a Full Time Firefighter for some 22 years now. I have a very special place in my hart for what he does. My father was a Volunteer Fireman in the small town of Luna Pier, Michigan where I grew up. When I turned 18, I joined the Department as well and spent 20+ years serving our little community. So I understand the hard work, dedication and the sacrifices that I’m sure he has been through.
I can also relate to the weight of the standard issue Fire Fighter’s equipment he has to wear to fight fires. Jacket, Bunker Pants, Helmet, Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), etc. But what you might now know about THIS GUY, is he runs Marathons wearing ALL of his Gear! Yep, that’s right, all 42 pounds of it!
Let me share with you how we met. I’m sure this story in very similar to many others. I ran my first race in 2014. It was the Glass City Marathon and I ran on a relay team. Basically, they take the 26.2 mile course and divide it into 5 legs. I was running leg #4, which starts at about mile 15 and goes to about mile 20. I was about half way through my 5.2 miles, thinking I might die at any second, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a GUY running up on me and he was dressed in full Fire Fighter Gear! At first I thought their must be an emergency, so I looked to see if someone ahead had went down or something, Then I noticed that he had on running shoes not fire boots? WTF? Then I saw a Bib! Seriously, this GUY was running a race? Not just a race, but a FULL Marathon. Here I was running 5 miles, and about to die and he was running a FULL Marathon! I still can’t truly wrap my head around that.
After the race, I introduced myself and congratulated him. Now, you need to understand that Brian is not doing this to bring attention to “Brian the Runner”, it’s not about his him or his ego, or anything like that, actually, he is very reserved and one of the most humble GUYS I think I have very met. But he is on a mission!
Fireman Rob Foundation
Brian is the National Ambassador for the Fireman Rob foundation. Please take a minute and check out their website. Basically, Brian runs the races to raise awareness and Funds (Please consider making a donation) for the Foundation that in tern purchases and delivers Gund Teddy Bears to children suffering come cancer throughout the world with a SMILE – Simple . Moments . Impact . Lives . Everday.
As of this writing, Brian has run over 70 races, 13 have been FULL Marathons, yes, 26.2 miles in Full Fighter Gear, including his Air Pack.
Pink Heals Tour
Brian is also involved in the Pink Heals Tour. The Pink Heals National Tour operates by the sale of merchandise, gifts, local sponsorship and in kind donations to maintain their vehicles, buy gas and travel across the country to visit individuals and share the program. Tour drivers volunteer up to 21 days at a time to drive pink fire trucks and police cars across America and deliver the Pink Heals Program to communities.
The local chapters use pink fire trucks and police cars as a visual reminder that people matter. Chapters partner with local businesses for home visits in order to provide visit recipients with donated goods, gift cards and services and to give the employees of those businesses the opportunity to bring joy, love and hope to people in need.
Recently Brian arranged to have the Pink Heals Tour make a stop in our area to honor the daughter of a very close friend of mine who is suffering from a serious medical condition.
So whats next for this GUY you might ask? Well, if everything above is not enough, he is diligently working to establish a local chapter of the Pink Heals Tour to service the Norther Ohio area. Good job my Friend!!!
So you want to help! There are two ways, 1) Borrow Brian’s Fire Fighter Gear and start running marathons…..Yea! NO, Ok, 2) Then join me by opening your checkbook and make a donation to the Fireman Rob Foundation, your donations stay local and will help Brian continue to improve the lives of the children in our community.
Brian joins me as part of the Inaugural Group of Run Toledo Ambassadors. I’m so excited to get to know him even better. I keep saying it, but this running community, “Running Family” is the best! I’m so blessed to be part of it.
Remember to S.M.I.L.E
Until next time … Happy Running!
Have you ever been in a race with Brian? If so, tell us your story.
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