Andrew Drobeck’s quest for a second unique world record fell painfully short at Sunday’s Missoula Marathon.
Painful being the operative word.
Less than a month after breaking the Guinness World Record time for the fastest 1-mile run in full firefighting uniform, Drobeck set out to run the fastest half-marathon in a full kit.
But turnout gear isn’t made to breathe -- it’s supposed to keep fire out after all -- and the boots are a far cry from the soft and sleek running shoes preferred by most athletes.
“I think I bit off a little more than I could chew, for sure. It was kind of a combo of getting hot and some pretty bad blisters on my heels,” said Drobeck, who is a Missoula city firefighter. “If you saw my heel right now, there’s about a 4x4 spot with no skin.”
Drobeck wound up crossing the half marathon finish line at 1 hour, 59 minutes, 30 seconds. He was 21 minutes off the world record time (1:38:20, Lars Kegler, March 13, 2016).
“It’s not something I’m going to try again,” Drobeck said. “I was 20 minutes off. It’s something where I could beat my own time, but that 1:38 record, I think it’s going to be one that’s going to stand for a while.”
Drobeck, who is a triathlete and has won six straight Scott Firefighter Stairclimb competitions in Seattle, said his cardio was fine. The combination of his body heat, sore feet and heavy equipment -- weighing in at over 20 pounds before water weight -- held him back.
"At mile 4 I kind of considered just bagging it, but I didn’t want to be a quitter," he said. "I just kind of found a pretty slow pace I could maintain and finish and then just changed my goal to getting to the finish line.
"It was fun, though, and people were super supportive, so yeah, it was a good time."
And Drobeck is still one of the fastest firefighters around. His world record mile time in full gear clocked in at 6:08.46 back on June 17.