Run to Remember: Mustang firefighters walk half marathon to honor first responders

Two Mustang firefighters participated in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon as a way to honor those first responders at the scene of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995.
Firefighters Dave Small and Tanner Setliff walked the OKC Memorial half marathon, which is 13.1 miles, in full gear on Sunday, among other firefighters from across the state.
This was Small’s fourth time to participate in the marathon.
He said it went well and they didn’t get rained on too much, but he was glad he wore his structure boots because “it’s not too fun walking through puddles of water for 13 miles.”
Small was only 8 years old at the time of the OKC bombing and said he didn’t completely realize the impact of it.
“I was at school and all the adults were in a much more serious—we didn’t realize how big of a deal it was, but we watched TV all day pretty much. I think it would’ve had a bigger impact if I was older. We were shocked little 8 years old. When I got home my parents were watching TV until late at night, then again the next day and the next day,” Small said.
He said the OKC Memorial Marathon is filled with positivity and comradery between the firefighters and all of the people there.
“The overall spirit of the race is really high. There’s a lot of people cheering you on. I enjoy it. It’s a good physical challenge and it’s a good way to remember the people before me who have had to respond to incidents like this. I just have a lot of respect for the guys who had to respond to that call in 1995. They did a lot more work then than I did so I just kept thinking about that throughout the race whenever I got tired,” Small said. “We do it in full gear as an extra challenge to remember the first responders that were on scene. They had to work a lot longer and harder in their gear so it’s good motivation.
“You hear stories from other people and it kind of puts you in your place. It lets you know how much worse it can be.”
This was Tanner Setliff’s third time to participate.
He said this time was probably the easiest out of the three for him because the group of firefighters he was walking with were talking and it kept his mind off the mileage.
“It’s for a good cause and on top of that it’s a tradition. I guess just trying to keep the tradition alive,” Setliff said.
Setliff wasn’t even born yet at the time of the bombing, but he said it means a lot to him to be a part of the Memorial Marathon.
“It means a lot and that’s mainly due to the fact that even though I wasn’t alive, I can still participate in something like that,” Setliff said. “It’s something that’s actually globally recognized so it really means a lot that I can be a part of something like that.”
The Memorial Marathon is deemed the “Run to Remember,” but it’s about more than just running. It’s about celebrating life.
The OKC Memorial Marathon’s mission is “to celebrate life, reach for the future, honor the memories of those who were killed and unite the world in hope. This is not just another marathon. It is a Run to Remember… and a race to show that we can each make a difference and change the world,” according to the website, okcmarathon.com.
With more than 25,500 participants from all 50 states as well as 13 countries, this year’s Memorial Marathon was the largest to date.
“It’s great that we can support such a good cause. Our firefighters enjoy doing that. I just think that it’s a neat deal that we’re able to participate in an event that remembers what happened in 1995,” Fire Chief Carl Hickman said.

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