In the spirit of Thanksgiving, families consider what they are thankful for before eating. It is important to also remain healthy.
Here’s an interview with local firefighter Randolph Feltner following his run in the 37th annual Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 28—representing the International Association of Firefighters’ (IAFF) charitable foundation that provides disaster relief and helps families of fallen firefighters. Runners from across the United States and 54 countries competed in the 26.2-mile race starting in Arlington and finished at the Marine Corps War Memorial.
WN: You completed the race. How did it feel to represent the organization?
Feltner: I felt a little overwhelmed. I say that because part of the money that was raised went to the fallen fighter fighters’ memorial.
Last year a runner for the IAFF team died 500 feet from the finish in Chicago. Some of his coworkers shared a story about that fireman’s wife going to the memorial and being so grateful because it not only gave her closure it also gave her family a constant reminder of what and who her husband was.
WN: How would you critique your performance and what did you think of the event?
Feltner: Anyone who races thinks they can do better after the fact, but I would give myself an A. I really had no idea what to expect going into the race I hoped to stay at five hours and 30 minutes or less, and I was right on the money.
It was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but also the most rewarding. I actually had to laugh at myself after the fact because I actually started crying when I finished. I’m not sure if it was from happiness or from the pain of the marathon. I’m pretty sure it was the happiness and feeling of accomplishment from doing something I honestly didn’t think I could do.
WN: Hurricane Sandy followed the event, not immediately afterwards, did you have to provide any aide to people? If so, explain what that was like for you and other emergency service workers?
Feltner: I spent two days at the CBVFD. We were extremely lucky and didn’t run too many calls. We had a great group of guys and girls there.
Unfortunately I could hardly walk for three days after the race so I was tasked with running the make shift EOC [emergency operations center] and coordinating our responses for assistant chief Mike Worrell. It definitely sucked not being out there with the guys but was still good to be able to pitch in albeit in a limited role.
WN: Explain what you think about as it relates to Thanksgiving, and exercising after big meals following the holiday.
Feltner: Thanksgiving is always tough on the waistline. Honestly, I always end up over-indulging on turkey day. It’s really tough after a big meal like that to go get a run in, plus thanksgiving should be spent with family and friends if you’re fortunate enough to have them.
My advice is go workout on Thanksgiving morning. My wife and I are actually going to be doing a group run 10K at 8 a.m. starting at the Riverboat in Colonial Beach Thanksgiving morning.
It’s absolutely free. We only ask people to bring a canned good or nonperishable food item to donate to the local food bank. Hopefully that food will give someone in need a healthy meal this holiday season.
Everyone is welcome, runners and walkers.
About Randolph Feltner: In 1999, Feltner became a member of the Colonial Beach Volunteer Fire Department. One of Feltner’s defining moments serving at the department was his efforts to promote self-fitness and for others in his community. He started it in 2011 with the first Firefighter Fitness 5K Run/Walk and Mile Kids Fun Run in Colonial Beach. Feltner prior to that began competing in local marathons to get in better shape. Feltner said he weighed 275 pounds nine years ago. He has lost over 65 pounds to date.