By Janice Eck
(Victorville)– On Saturday, June 8, the Victorville Police & Fire Activities League (PFAL) will host “A Tribute to Heroes 5K Challenge & Safety Fair” at Victor Valley College. The course will run the perimeter of Victor Valley College, but will start at the football field. Registration opens at 6:30 a.m. The race begins at 8:00 a.m.
The 5K Challenge will not be your typical 5K run, but more of an obstacle course that mimics what someone in the fire or law enforcement academy experiences with low crawls, balance beams, tire drills, and agility stations. In lieu of a gunshot, fire trucks, patrol units and motorcycles will start runners off with lights and sirens in an “ultimate emergency vehicle code-3 gauntlet.”
The safety fair will have a carnival feel to it with a DJ, vendors, displays, and sponsors showing their support for our country, public service, and PFAL. Animal Control will be holding dog adoptions as well. Children (and adults) can take pictures with McGruff the Crime Dog and Sparky the Fire Dog or have their face painted or jump around in the bounce house. In an interview, Sheriff’s Sergeant Robert McCoy of the Victorville Police Department said, “We want it to be an exciting, proud, patriotic event. It’s definitely going to be more than just a 5K.”
Pre-registered runners will receive t-shirts and awards will be given to the top finishers (categories by age and gender), who will be able to choose their own prize from an array of gift cards, police and fire department promotional items such as sweatshirts and jackets, among others. Just because there are prizes does not mean it will be a competition for everyone. Sgt. McCoy says there will be walkers and fun-runners; “everyone’s not in it to win it.”
According to Sgt. McCoy, one of the goals of the 5K event is for “kids to see that cops and firefighters do care about them. We want to reach out and help them be successful. They get to interact with us on a positive note.”
Most of the proceeds of the 5K Challenge will go toward equipment for the PFAL gym located next to the Victorville Police Department (a small portion will go to Sheriff’s Employee Assistance Team). According to Sgt. McCoy, PFAL “reach[es] out to youth. If we have any at-risk youth that we feel could benefit by affiliation with this organization, we bring them in. We mentor them. We get them into a physical fitness workout routine in boxing.” The gym houses an Olympic-quality boxing ring and “all the gym equipment you could imagine.” Former Olympic athlete, Robert Espinoza, volunteers his time, experience and skills as the PFAL trainer. Officers and fire fighters volunteer their time as 1-on-1 mentors and tutors. All the equipment – boxing gloves, mouthpieces, exercise equipment, etc. – have been donated or purchased through grants. PFAL is always open to financial or equipment donations.
Pre-registration for the 5K Challenge is $25.00.
Same day registration at the event is $30.00.