by John Daniel Falotico, R4YL Rae Director
I have been a firefighter for six years now. When I got hired, I was aware of the risk of burns, broken bones, mental trauma, and even death. I did not know that even more prevalent would be dealing with the very likely diagnosis of aggressive cancer in my retirement as a direct causation of my occupation. In fact, the first event I was involved in was the Schenectady Firefighters Cancer Foundation’s Run 4 Your Life 5k. I volunteered with the event the day before I left for Academy. While in academy all the dangers above were mentioned and much attention was paid to a style of training called “Firefighter Survival.” While I am immensely appreciative of the very talented instructors who taught these skills to me and my fellow cadets, I knew the education on health and safety was far from comprehensive.
For that reason, I have been involved with Schenectady Firefighters Cancer Foundation for as many years as I have been a professional firefighter. In the last three years I have had the honor of being the Race Director for the Run 4 Your Life 5K event. The event is the leading fundraising and awareness raising event on the Foundation’s calendar. In 2022 over 700 runner participants and an additional 350 people attended the ChowderFest after the race. As a Race Director I am thrilled to see attendance break the 1,000 person mark for the first time, and I am forever indebted to my passionate team of volunteer staff for such an achievement. As a member of the Foundation, however, I am ecstatic that this cause is finally making headlines across the local, state, and national news screens. For the small role the R4YL 5k plays in this raising of awareness I am humbled.
This year the 2023 Run 4 Your Life 5k will be held on Saturday March 25th at 9 a.m. in beautiful Central Park in Schenectady. The course is a USATF - certified course and promises some fast times and new PRs for competitive athletes. Casual runners and walkers will enjoy beautiful scenery and may even have time to see a few ducks or geese swimming in the Iroquois Pond. Following the 5k event, around 9:40, there will be a superhero fun run for kids ages 12 and under. Firefighters will be dressed as superheroes and will cheer for the kids as they run around the pond. Those same costumed firefighters will host the podium ceremony for the kids after the event!
In addition to the 5k and fun run, ChowderFest will be back and better than ever! All the platoons of the Schenectady Fire Department as well as four local restaurants will be vying for the “Golden Clam” trophy and the title of “Schenectady’s Best Chowder.” Runners wishing to compete in a team competition will have the opportunity to do so in an open competitive category or in a First Responder only Team category.
All the while, during the festivities and frivolities, members of the Schenectady Firefighters Cancer Foundation will be on hand to help inform the public and raise awareness of a very worthwhile cause. Click here to register or access the Schenectady Firefighters Cancer Foundation’s Facebook or Instagram page to join us on March 25. Early registration is only $35 and includes entry to the race, entry to ChowderFest, a long sleeve race shirt, a surprise gift, and a bag full of SWAG from race sponsors.
Ed. Note: John is newly married to noted HMRRC ultra runner Mary Claire Walker. They met as volunteer EMTs in Rotterdam, NY. John told me that all Schenectady fire fighters are also cross trained as paramedics thus giving the highest prehospital level of care to injured persons.
Also, I will be taking pictures at the race that will go into the Pace Setter photos section.
Schenectady Firefighters Cancer Foundation’s Run 4 Your Life 5k
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