Police & Fire

Cranford Firefighter Joseph Kopf III on Running the Firecracker Race in Full Gear

Joseph Kopf III, Thomas Hannen III and Mark Wills ran the Firecracker Race in 100-pound gear because they like a challenge. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
Joseph Kopf III, Thomas Hannen III and Mark Wills ran the Firecracker Race in 100-pound gear because they like a challenge. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
Joseph Kopf III, Thomas Hannen III and Mark Wills ran the Firecracker Race in 100-pound gear because they like a challenge. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna

CRANFORD, NJ – Although Cranford residents wore tutus, stars and stripes for the Cranford Jaycees Annual Firecracker Run on the Fourth of July, three stood out for a different uniform: the full gear for a Cranford firefighter.

Firefighter Joseph Kopf III, Fire Inspector Thomas Hannen III and Firefighter Mark Wills created a stir as they ran the four-mile race in the heavy boots, coats, pants, air packs, gloves, helmets and more.

“I am so proud of these guys,” Chief Dan Czeh of the CFD said.

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According to Kopf, the three ran the four-mile race in full gear because they like to be challenged. The full race course winds down Springfield Avenue and through Nomahegan Park.

“It was very hot and heavy,” Kopf said.

According to Kopf, the full uniform weighs about 100 pounds with the tools and equipment a firefighter carries, which is stressful on the body when running a race. Without those items, the uniform would wegh approximately 70 pounds.

“I had to stop about three miles into the race due to not drinking water and not feeling well,” Kopf said.  

However, Kopf said he would run in full gear again next year.

Thomas Hannen III and Mark Wills did not respond to TAPinto Cranford’s request for comment.

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