How many challenges are there left for Missoula City fireman Andrew Drobek to conquer?

After finishing first for the last six years at the Seattle Stair Climb Challenge, Drobek broke the record for a mile run in full gear back in May by over 40 seconds. On Sunday, Drobek ran the half marathon (nearly 14 miles) in full turnout gear.

"Once we finished the Missoula Mile, the record was 6:48 and we did 6:08, we thought why not try the Guinness thing (Guinness world record) with the half marathon?" he said. "The record pace for the half marathon was about 7:49 per mile, and cardiovascular wise, I knew we could be pretty close".

However, Drobek did not account for the footwear that firemen must wear, that bears no resemblance to the high-tech running footwear of today.

"At mile four, I knew that there was no way I could run that pace," he said after describing how his turnout gear trapped perspiration, even though he had quart-sized bags of ice inside his suit. "I considered just dropping out, but I didn't want to just quit, so I slowed my pace way down , or I would have passed out, or just ended up walking. My feet were just tore up and I have some pretty major blisters going. If I had run another 13 miles for the full marathon, I would have rubbed my heels down to the bone."

As it was, Drobek finished the half marathon in about two hours, and to top it off, rode his bike later in the morning, and was pulling his Sunday shift with the Missoula Fire department during this interview.

Drobek was thankful for so many friends and well-wishers who cheered him on during the race.

"This is a run-crazy town," he said. "Missoula rallies together for it seems like everything."

Nearly 6,000 runners and walkers took part in the combined 5k, kids races, half and full marathons, bringing in an estimated $2 million to the Missoula community.

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