Firefighters are heating up efforts to raise money and break records as the Columbus Firefighter Association's MDA 5K approaches.
The MDA 5K, which is in its second year, will give citizens a chance to run, walk or jog around the downtown area to benefit locals suffering from muscular dystrophy. The race will be held June 29 and costs $35 to register.
Columbus Firefighter Association President Lt. Gene Hull said 100 participants helped raise between $5,000 and $6,000 during 2012's benefit. This year, the association is hoping not only to double their number of participants, but to break their record donation.
"We want everyone to come out and support a great cause," Hull said. "We've got prizes for those competing and each person who competes is automatically entered into a raffle. If you want to be competitive, the race is going to be timed, too."
Money raised during the 5K goes to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, but benefits citizens locally. All money raised is distributed among the Columbus, Phenix City and Harris County area to help those suffering from the disease.
Hull said one major program the donations help fund is the MDA'S Camp Walk 'N' Roll summer camp in Rutledge, Ga., held for children affected by muscular dystrophy.
"The kids are able to be themselves and be around their peers," he said. "It's a lot of fun."
The race will begin in front of Big Dog Running Company at 8 a.m. June 29. Participants will get T-shirts while supplies last. Those interested can register now at Big Dog Running Company or at the Fire Department office in the Public Safety Building, as well as the active.com page.
Late registration will be available until about 30 minutes before the race. The race is open to citizens of all ages, and competitive age divisions will be offered for those racers looking for a challenge.
"You can walk it, you can run it, you can even skip it," Hull said. "It's just a chance to get out, get some good exercise and give back."
For residents looking for a meal rather than a race, the Columbus Firefighter Association will be participating in a "Burger Battle" today at Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill on Whittlesey Boulevard between 7 and 9 p.m. Firefighters will face off against local car club the Columbus City Stangz in a burger relay where each team works to complete their burgers first. At the end of the night, the winning team will receive 75 percent of the prize money and the runner up will receive the rest.
"One guy will finish his burger, and then the next guy will start on his and the next guy," Hull said. "And whatever money we win will go toward the MDA. The more people who come out and support us, the better we'll do."