It is tradition for members of the Goodyear Fire Department to run the annual Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. When it was canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they quickly came up with an alternative — run 26.2 miles in their home city.
A total of 35 Goodyear firefighters will hit the pavement Wednesday morning, Nov. 4, running in the name of fallen Goodyear Fire Engineer Austin Peck, who lost his service-related battle with cancer in August 2019 at age 35.
“For us, it’s to commemorate the sacrifice and what Austin did for us — he made this a better place, a safer place for us to work,” GFD Capt. Orion Godfrey said. “We’re stronger because of him. We haven’t forgotten him, and we’ll never forget him.”
The run starts and ends at two new fire stations under construction in the city. Both stations are designed with more efficient decontamination procedures to ensure the timely removal of any materials that collect on firefighters’ clothes and bodies to better protect them.
Capt. Godfrey said there may be a bit of fate involved in this marathon.
“Everything about Austin always had the number 42. It was a really special number to him. Whether it was meant to be or just total coincidence, from Fire Station 186 to all the fire stations and end at Fire Station 181, it’s actually 42 kilometers,” he said.
The course will take the firefighters by all of the city’s six fire stations, from as far south as the small community of Mobile on State Route 238 and north to Estrella Parkway and Indian School Road.
Editor’s note: Shane Dale is a digital journalist with the city of Goodyear.