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Originally published: 2014-07-05 15:30:39
Last modified: 2014-07-05 15:31:21

Stop, Drop and Roll helps good causes

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

Michael Holland knows how important physical fitness is to firefighters.

Holland, a rising senior at Watauga High School, is also a member of the Pioneers' cross-country and track and field teams. Both teams will be counting on him to provide top finishes in both sports during the 2013-14 seasons.

Holland is also a volunteer member of the Beach Mountain Fire Department. The Stop, Drop and Roll 5K road race, which was held Saturday at the greenway, gave Holland a chance to combine his passion for firefighting and running.

Holland won the race with a time of 17 minutes, 27 seconds. He finished nearly two minutes in front of Louis Hendricks, who turned in a time of 19:17.

Ryan Van Orman was third with a time of 19:29. They were the only three runners who broke the 20-minute barrier.

"It was a beautiful day to run," Holland said. "It was a beautiful morning. It was nice and cool. It's always good to run in 50 degree weather and to run for a great cause."

The event, in its second year, raised more than $3,000 for two causes. The first is for the North Carolina Firefighters Burned Children's Fund, and the second in to provide scholarship money for Watauga High School graduates who wish to pursue a career in emergency services, such as firefighting, EMS or police work.

"It went fantastic," Boone Fire Marshal Ronnie Marsh said. "We had 100 runners today. The weather was fantastic for this time of year. We had probably about 60 new participants this year instead of last year. This is our second one, so we hope to continue this one."

All of the Top 10 finishers in the race finished before the 24-minute barrier. Watauga track and field coach Randy McDonough finished 17th with a time of 25:14.

He was happy to see Holland win the event, and is looking forward to the rising senior running this fall for the Watauga cross-country team.

"He's been training very hard this summer," McDonough said. "He didn't have the best year as a junior in cross-country, but he had a great junior year in track. He really wants to go out with a bang this year. He works as hard as any on my team and it's showing."

Another group of runners who has worked hard this summer is the Boone Fire Department. Five members, Kent Brown, Daniel Ingwersen, Shane Garland, Aaron Wilson and Capt. Mike Teague ran the 5K course in full firefighting gear.

They finished as a group in under 40 minutes. It's the second time the group has run the race in full gear, which added 60 pounds of weight to carry.

Teague said the reason was to not only raise money, but to honor firefighters who have died while on duty. He specifically paid tribute to those who were killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11, the 19 firefighters who were killed in an Arizona wildfire in 2013 and the nine firefighters killed in Charleston, S.C., when a sofa store roof collapsed during a fire in 2007.

"We did it to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice," Teague said. "They've given their life saving someone. We started this last year and with it being the Stop, Drop and Roll 5K, we felt it was the appropriate time to come out in unity together."

The Boone firefighters work with protective suits and an oxygen tank on their backs. The only thing missing from their regular equipment they usually carry was their facemasks.

Teague said they go through rigorous training throughout the year. He said the BFD does everything from walking to running up steps at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

They also have a certified cross-fitness instructor on staff to keep the firefighters in condition.
"All of the Boone Fire Department has a mandatory fitness program," Teague said. "We actually do physical conditioning every day. Then we have mandatory conditioning check that is done every six months, and our employment is tied to that. Physical conditioning is extremely important to what we do in firefighting."

Two runners from the Cove Creek Fire Department -- Ian Barry and Windham Taylor -- and Jimmy Moretz from the Zionville Fire Department ran the event. They wore their protective clothing and helmets, but not the oxygen tanks.

The three runners finished the course in just under 30 minutes.

"This idea popped up at the Cove Creek meeting so we wanted to do something different to challenge ourselves," Taylor said.

Before door prizes were handed out, Duane Daggett had a special presentation for Teague. Daggett's house caught fire in December, and was trying to fight the fire before the BFD put it out.

"I asked them, 'What can I do to help you?'" Daggett said. "He said, 'Get out of the way.'"
Daggett, 82, gave Teague a pillow that said "Not all men is created equal. Only the finest become firefighters."