Running a half marathon is hard enough. But one Pennsylvania man did it while wearing 50 pounds of firefighting gear, including an air tank.
Firefighter Ryan Robeson ran 13.1 miles Sunday in boots, a turnout coat and pants, a hood, gloves, a face piece and a helmet. In addition, he wore a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) cylinder, which rescue workers use to breathe when in dangerous air.
Robeson, 28, ran the race in his native Scranton to bring attention to the demanding work firefighters do – and to try to set a Guinness World Record.
“This was to raise awareness for how hard firefighters work and the stress that’s put on their bodies,” Robeson told CNN Monday. “The half marathon yesterday is probably equivalent to what a firefighter goes through on a really intense day.”
Robeson, a firefighter in York, Pennsylvania, is no stranger to strenuous tasks. He’s also competed in the Spartan Death Race, a grueling competition that combines a marathon with an obstacle course.
But this time, Robeson said he wanted to help raise money for charity. And setting a world record would’ve been cool, too.
He missed the world record by 6 minutes
Robeson has been working as a firefighter for three years, but it isn’t his first job. He first worked as an engineer after college but hated sitting in a cubicle and wanted something more active.
His dad was a firefighter and the profession was always something he had in the back of his mind.
Last September, he applied to set a Guinness World Record for running a half marathon in full firefighter gear. When Guinness approved his application, they set three and a half hours as the time for him to beat.
After months of training, Robeson finished the Scranton Half Marathon in 3:36:11, missing a record-setting time by a mere 6 minutes.
“I was pretty emotional,” Robeson said. “It was very bittersweet. … I had worked so hard and was close to it, and just came up a little bit short.”
During the marathon, the firefighter had a team that helped him with logistics such as switching out his air tank, which ran out about every mile. But with two miles to go in the race, Robeson knew his pace wasn’t fast enough to get the record.
“In the end, I gave everything I had,” he said.
But he reached another goal
Still, Robeson surpassed his fundraising goals.
He raised $5,800 for two worthy causes: Foundation 58, which helps rescue workers with cancer, and Operation Unite Scranton, a joint project between Scranton’s fire and police departments to provide winter coats to children in need.
Robeson said he is considering another attempt at setting the world record.
“Right now I’m a little beat up,” he said. “But as my body recovers, (another try) is definitely something I will consider. But the timing has to be right.”