Guido Hartmann is a firefighter and also a big fan of running. But not in practical running clothes: in full firefighting gear. The purpose of this initiative is to raise money for seriously ill children, and to draw attention to the condition called Duchenne muscular dystrophy (muscle weakness). BERTRAND thinks this is very worthy of support: He was kind enough to answer a few questions for us at this year’s Easter Run in Paderborn.
Question 1: What is the motivation behind your running in full work gear?
Sick children! My job unfortunately brings me into contact with many sick children. Some years ago, I got to know Mathias Schmidt, and he takes part in running in order to raise awareness about muscular dystrophy. And ever since I got to know him, I have been so convinced of this worthy cause, that I have also been drawing attention to this illness by wearing my full work gear. I have personally been a member of an association that helps children with cancer and other serious conditions, and this lets me combine both ideas really well. This lets me raise funds, and at the same time draw attention to the Duchenne type of muscular dystrophy (DMD for short). Why do we run in our working gear? It’s a message that we want to send out. The run is going to be especially difficult in today’s temperatures. It’s going to be warm, and we are definitely going to suffer a bit. But that’s what it’s all about: Children who have DMD have a hard time in their short life. At first, the illness doesn’t have any symptoms, until the muscles start to weaken. When this happens, a Duchenne type muscular dystrophy diagnosis is made. Most children have to use a wheelchair by the age of 10, because they don’t have the strength to walk any more. At some point, the muscles used by the lungs and the heart start to weaken. Most of these children die before the age of 20.
Question 2: Do you run just for this organization, or for others as well?
When I run, the money that I raise is shared: One half goes to the organization called Benni und Co., which is a German Duchenne charity, and the other half goes to the Hilfe für das krebs- und schwerstkranke Kind e. V., which is the children’s cancer and serious illness charity. Both organizations have been around for about 25 years, and they do fantastic work. In education, and in research. They offer support to the children, and also for the parents of these children. I think that is very worthy of support.
Question 3: Is healthy nutrition important to you personally?
Oh yes. That’s really important for my job, and if at all possible, I try to eat organic quality food, or even Demeter products. I look for fair trade arrangements and good pay rates for the various producers. And I think it is worth it, to pay a bit more. But it is not always easy when you have a family.
Question 4: Have you ever tried BERTRAND?
Yes, I have tried it, and I think it tastes exceptionally good. I have a nut allergy and have to make some adjustments because of it, and I still have to try them all out to find out which type I can tolerate best, but the baked apple and cinnamon one was very good for me.
Question 6: Which is your favorite?
I like the taste of the blueberry one, but I also think the baked apple and cinnamon one tastes great, and I can tolerate it very well, but I really don’t know yet what my favorite flavor is.
Question 6: What other things do you like about BERTRAND, apart from the ingredients and the taste?
I appreciate the philosophy that lies behind it. That everything is organic, and also the family structure in the company. I am very happy to support that.
Question 7: What is your goal for this Easter Run?
To cope with the weather and try to keep hydrated, because it is very warm. Just to keep going: my goal is 1 hour and 10 minutes (Note: Guido Hartmann finished in 01:17:50).
Question 8: What advice would you give to other firefighters who are just starting to take up running?
Training. Just training, and it takes time to get used to it. There are countries where it’s hot all the time. For example in Greece, where they have forest fires. Or in Spain. People have a hard time there. And my firefighter colleagues still do an excellent job in spite of that. In Germany, we are very lucky with the temperatures, although last summer was quite a challenge in that respect, and the only way to deal with that is through physical fitness. So that you have a healthy cardiovascular system. Training and more training: that’s what I would recommend.
Question 9: Which event will you be running in next?
The next event is the Firefighters’ Run in Höxter. A lot of my colleagues are participating in that run wearing work gear or fancy dress costumes. That’s one of the most important events in my running calendar. That run is organized by Matthias Schmidt, and it is specifically for the Duchenne muscular dystrophy illness. It was very warm last year, and I hope we’ll have better luck this year.
Question 10: Last question: if you could choose a particular place to run in, where would that be?
I would love to run in Iceland one day!
BERTRAND thanks Guido Hartmann for this informative interview and wishes him well with his running in future events. In the links below you can see more information about the organizations that were mentioned, and the Firefighters’ Run in Höxter.