Firefighters in full gear join runners for the Pioneer Dam 10k

BROWNSVILLE, Ore. -- Runners in the Pioneer Dam Run lined up outside the Linn County Historical Museum, stretching in the cool Sunday morning air before the 8 a.m. crack of the starter pistol.

Standing slightly behind the first wave of runners a group of four volunteer firefighters from the Halsey-Shedd Rural District could be seen snaking in their ear buds through the straps of their fire helmets.

They jogged the 10k wearing their full firefighting gear, trading only the boots for a pair of running shoes.

"I'm wearing my air pack, which is about 25 pounds. The helmet weighs about 10 pounds, that's going to be the hardest part," said firefighter and EMT Rio Espinosa. "We wear it all the time anyway... it's like my second skin now."

Espinosa, a Central Linn High graduate, said the focus of Sunday's run was on raising money for a new track at the high school. He said the group of volunteer firefighters hopes their full gear run will also help support opening the Oregon Fire Museum in Brooks.

The Pioneer Dam 5/10k is part of Brownsville's Pioneer Picnic Weekend.