Firefighter to run Glass City Marathon in gear for fallen heroes

Hackenburg in his gear
Hackenburg in his gear

(Toledo News Now) - When Brian Hackenburg gets ready for a run, he has a routine: He takes his boots off and puts on his bibs, coat, air tank and helmet.

He's a Perkins Township firefighter.

"The gear will definitely challenge your physical endurance," he said.

In 2010, Hackenburg noticed his weight was affecting his job performance, so he started running marathons to get in better shape. Now he runs marathons in his full turnout gear – all 42 pounds of it – to raise awareness.

"The number one cause of line-of-duty deaths in the fire service each year is heart attacks," he said. "My campaign is focusing on getting firemen out exercising 30-60 minutes a day, getting their health screening and yearly physicals done, so we can try to help prevent some of these silent killers that kill so many of our heroes."

What he started doing a few years ago has evolved over time. Now, with the passing of former co-worker and friend Jamie Dickman, it's turned into much more.

Hackenburg worked with fallen Toledo firefighter Private Dickman for 10 years in Perkins Township.

"Jamie was the first guy that came to me and says, 'I want to help out. I want to help with your foundation. I believe in it, I love it, please tell me what I can do to help you out,'" he said.

So this April, Hackenburg will run the Glass City Marathon in full gear in honor of Private Dickman and Private Stephen Machcinski.

"They're our heroes, and they deserve to be remembered forever," he said.

Hackenburg started the Turnout Challenge Foundation a year ago. Money raised goes to the National Firefighters Endowment. He also assembled a team for firefighters to join the cause.

Mobile users, click on the "Video" button in the app to watch this story. Download our app here.

Copyright 2014 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.