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Firefighters to ignite heart health

Run 4 Your Life raises awareness of firefighter heart health

Schenectady Firefighter Lt. Brian Demarest holds the Fireman’s Trophy, which any team of runners from an area fire department can take back with them if they are the top firefighter team finishers in the Run 4 Your Life race. Demarest started the race the race to raise awareness to heart health issues amongst firefighters.

Schenectady Firefighter Lt. Brian Demarest holds the Fireman’s Trophy, which any team of runners from an area fire department can take back with them if they are the top firefighter team finishers in the Run 4 Your Life race. Demarest started the race the race to raise awareness to heart health issues amongst firefighters. Submitted photo

— Despite battling furious flames, firefighters face the biggest risk from inside themselves if they don’t have a healthy heart. One annual race seeks to extinguish that risk.

The Third Annual “Run 4 Your Life” 5K race, organized by Schenectady Firefighter Lt. Brian Demarest, is being held on Saturday, March 31, at Schenectady’s Central Park. The 5K run and walk will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the free Kids Fun Run will begin at 10:30 a.m. All proceeds raised through the race will be donated to the American Heart Association. Last year the race raised $10,000, doubling the first race, and Demarest said this year he‘s hoping to reach $12,000 and 700 runners.

After Demarest learned a heart attack following a response to a fire call was the leading cause of death among firefighters, he started the event to raise awareness.

“I wanted to start it so I could take a proactive measure and try to raise awareness,” Demarest said. “I figured it is something that I can do that would be proactive and maybe place some attention to it and I figured what better place to donate the money to than the American Heart Association.”

Demarest is turning 45 years old this summer, but he is also practicing for his first full Ironman race in Cooperstown this September. He said he has always led an active lifestyle, but now he has just “kicked it up a notch.” He is also more conscious about his eating habits now.

“I have found without running I find it difficult to keep the weight off,” he said. “Running for me has been better than any diet I do.”

He said he tries to lead by example, so an active lifestyle isn’t something he just preaches about, but practices. Even with a busy day-to-day life, he said it is important to find time to exercise.

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