Run Communities & Causes: My Experience with the Mountain View Fire Drill 5K 10K & FITTER

“9-1-1, what is your emergency?”

When a crisis hits, you may not think of the first responder on the other end. You just want help and you want it NOW.

But there is so much more that goes into your call from the time you dial, to when the fire department and law enforcement arrive at your door. I learned this firsthand when I put myself in the shoes (and suit and really heavy helmet) of a member of the fire department when I participated in “Fire Ops 101.” This unique one day hands-on course put me in the “day in the life” of a firefighter.

Ellen Kamei participated in “Fire Ops 101."

Ellen Kamei participated in “Fire Ops 101."

 

I used the “jaws of life” to cut open a car, I performed CPR for an emergency medical situation, and I crawled on my hands and knees on the front end of a fire hose into a burning building. Although this course didn’t trigger a career change, it did spark a great appreciation for the fire service, new friends, and an interest to get involved.

My experience doing Fire Ops 101 allowed me to see the people behind the phone. In many ways, they were just like me; following their passion in the pursuit of their career and trying to build community along the way. It tapped into a sense of belonging to a team. I felt similar to my childhood of participating in Judo and soccer and later as a collegiate rower.

Ellen Kamei at the annual City of Mountain View pancake breakfast.

Ellen Kamei at the annual City of Mountain View pancake breakfast.

 

I began volunteering with my local fire department in the City of Mountain View at their annual pancake breakfast. Then, I helped with the holiday meals program with Second Harvest Food Bank at the Mountain View Senior Center. The following year, I seized an opportunity to volunteer on the inaugural “Mountain View Firefighters Random Acts Fire Drill 5K/10K Run.” The race combined two of my passions: running and supporting our local community. Not only that, all of the proceeds raised went to Mountain View residents who lost their home, belongings, or suffered other such difficulties. It was an invaluable experience to work on an event for my community with my community. During this time, I also was forming a new community with the Palo Alto Lululemon University Avenue Monday Night Run Club and FITTER. When I had the opportunity to once again volunteer on the Fire Drill Run, I knew who to call for help and support. It wasn’t 911; it was FITTER.

FITTER team and volunteers at the 2nd Annual Mountain View Random Acts Fire Drill on February 25th, 2017.

FITTER team and volunteers at the 2nd Annual Mountain View Random Acts Fire Drill on February 25th, 2017.

FITTER’s commitment to both fostering community and engaging individuals in fitness activities made them the perfect partner. Plus, if co-founder Sophia Wong can get me to sign up for another marathon; I knew she and FITTER could help us get us across the finish line to a successful event!

Now, I volunteer with FITTER. Like running, I’m hooked! FITTER has become part of my community and I feel like I am a part of theirs. We are on the same “team”. I am so excited about the upcoming “FITTER Summer 5K/10K” next weekend. If you signed-up, you might have noticed that you could have checked a box to learn more about the non-profit, Girls on the Run.  Girls on the Run will have a booth post-race as well to scout out future mentors. The race celebrates the local fitness and run communities and in addition to mentors, we will be donation to “Girls on the Run Bay Area.” Girls on the Run have a similar mission to the Mountain View Firefighters Randoms Acts Fire Drill Run, to cultivate a sense of community and inclusiveness through fitness, particularly running.

FITTER’s support of nonprofit causes and stewardship for our community makes running a 5K (3.1 miles) and a 10K (6.2 miles) accessible and fun! A person doesn’t need to run either distance alone because they will be cheered on by the FITTER community. FITTER answers the call.

Sophia Wong