Third generation firefighter Mike McIndoe is leading the “L.A. Fire” team in preparations for the 2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon. The goal is to raise $35,000 by marathon day, Sunday, March 19, 2017.
Mike sees this as an opportunity to give back to an organization which provides comfort and security to firefighter families, especially those with firefighters injured or killed in the line of duty. For the first time ever, the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Fireman’s Fund is a charity partner of the L.A. Marathon.
Created in 1906, Widows & Orphans is the official charity of the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association, which Mike says his family has been part of since 1947. His dad Rich retired as an engineer out of 69’s, and grandfather George retired as an engineer out of 63’s.
“I grew up in an LAFD family so I was exposed to the career at an early age. It’s pretty hard not to want to be a firefighter when you get to go for rides on fire engines as a kid,” Mike says.
On the job for 12 years, Mike is a captain I, assigned to fire station 88-B, as the adjutant on command 42. The station is located in Sherman Oaks, but command 42 covers the Valley Bureau as a 24-hour Assistant Chief Command Team.
In addition to running in his first full marathon, Mike has recruited a significant number of participants and organized monthly group runs. The “L.A. Fire” team currently has 19 marathon runners and 12 two-person charity relay teams registered.
“I have never run a race longer than a 10K, and I probably would not run a race this long, but it is such an awesome cause that I couldn’t say no.” Mike says if this marathon doesn’t break him, he hopes to make this an annual event for the charity.
Mike’s boss, Chief Patrick Butler, also will run the full “Stadium to the Sea” marathon, and he too is credited with encouraging event participation.
Olympic hopeful Scott Hambly, a firefighter at Fire Station 37 in Westwood, credits both Mike and Patrick with motivating him and others. “They did a great job rallying the troops and getting us all together.” Scott says he appreciates and looks forward to the camaraderie and fundraising to help raise money for people in need, “This creates a good feeling. If you could feel that every day, that’s pretty special.”
Mike’s parents were both runners so it has always been a part of his life. “I started running at a pretty early age because my parents were really into triathlons and they didn’t want to leave me at home when they went for their training runs.”
At Malibu High School Mike played water polo and swam. He did triathlons in college but his first race beyond a 5K was the 10K Run to Remember Los Angeles, where L.A. Police, L.A. Sheriff’s, L.A. City Fire, and L.A. County Fire ran to show support for First Responders who have made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in the line of duty.
“The best thing about running is that you can get a workout and clear your head in less than 30 minutes,” he says. Actually finding the time to run can be tough though. He and his wife Jen have a 2-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. Mike tries to squeeze in distance runs whenever he can and he runs on the treadmill at work.
“My wife and I have had to get creative with our workouts. We have an off-road stroller for some resistance training, and when we really want a good workout, we hike the hills with our son in his hiking backpack and daughter in the Ergo on the front,” Mike says.
Mike says his fundraising started off slow but, “Our LAFD membership is full of kindhearted and giving people, and all I had to do was send out an email.”
Mike credits Angelica Patino and Marlene Casillas, Relief Association staff members, for doing all of the hard work. “I hope that everyone who participates has an awesome race and I hope to spread the word so we can get an even bigger team together for the next marathon.”
You can sponsor Mike and other “L.A. Fire” team members by visiting our fundraising page. All contributions benefit the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund and come directly to our charity, a recognized 501(c)(3) tax I.D. #95-6205446.
By Denise Schlegel, freelance writer