PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Marathon Weekend has officially kicked off in the valley and thousands of runners are taking part in the Rock and Roll Marathon. While some runners are running for fun, others have a purpose.
It's Steve Jurca's 6th marathon, and in the other 5 he didn't have a theme, but this year he will be running with 25 extra pounds of weight on him for a good reason. This time he's running to support the local chapter of COPS, or Concerns Of Police Survivors.
"I think it's just an incredible cause to have, and it is one that I want to shoulder and pack around with me," said Jurca.
Jurca will honor local law enforcement and those who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Jurca will run the entire course with a protective vest and a backpack, all weighing 25 pounds, a representation of the extra weight officers carry around.
"They're wearing this their entire shift day in and day out. I'm only doing this for one day. It's a 26.2 mile run, but I'm done at the end of the day, this comes off, I don't have to do it the next day," said Jurca.
Jurca's cause hits home for many, people like Jan Blaser-Upchurch.
"Steve is doing this to remind people that this is just a small part of what they have to get used to of wearing an extra 25 pounds on your body everyday, getting in and out of cars, running after suspects. All of those things most of us don't know what it's like to do that," said Jan Blaser-Upchurch.
Jurca says the run will be physically tough, but it is nothing compared to what our law enforcement officers do on a daily basis.
"I'm trying to honor them and show appreciation for what they do in a very small way," said Jurca.
His goal is to complete the race in 4 hours, but he says with the extra gear it will likely take him 5. He says time isn't what is important, instead it is about spreading a positive message that everyone should support local law enforcement.