Former RPD officer halfway through running daily marathons in honor of fallen officer

[anvplayer video=”5177294″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The former Rochester Police Officer, running 48 marathons straight through eight states in honor of fallen RPD Officer Tony Mazurkiewicz, is now halfway through his journey.

Brett Sobieraski has completed 26 daily marathons so far, making his way from Florida to Virgina. Eventually he’ll make his way back here to Rochester.    

Sobieraski has been chronicling his daily marathons on Twitter and he’s always brutally honest.

“So, I had some scares early on, mostly the left side of my body and then it jumped to the right,” he tells News10NBC. “There’s a few times it stopped me in my tracks and you lay in bed at night wondering if you’re going to be able to run the next day. And every day, I have.”

Sometimes he even makes it look easy.

“It’s certainly not easy. Every day for four and a half hours or so, it’s truly a grind trying to get my mind in the right spot,” he says.

Something that helps is the support Sobieraski has found along the way. He got police escorts through parts of Florida and the Carolinas. Rochester Police Officers and Monroe County Deputies have been taking shifts to come down, drive his motor-home ahead and offer any help where they can.

“Everyone has just been so incredible. I saw a guy at a gas station the other day and he asked me what I was doing and he whipped out $20 bucks, he’s like, ‘Here’s my donation for the family,’” Sobieraski says.

Tony Mazurkiewicz’s family continues to be the main motivation for Sobieraski, particularly Tony’s widow, Lynn.

“She gave me 10 of these blue heart shaped rocks, she said one is yours, one is mine to take along on this journey and the other eight, each one is to be left in a state where I think Tony would like to be.”

Sobieraski tells News10NBC he thinks of Tony on every run, particularly when it’s an uphill battle.

“I’m like, ‘Damn you, Tony.’ I’m like, ‘I know you did this man and I know you’re laughing, and it’s not funny Tony.’ It’s not funny to put a mountain in my way. I know he gets a kick out of it, I know when I have a strong tailwind, it’s him pushing me and I know when I have a mountain to climb that’s him, Tony being Tony.”

Sobieraski has partnered with Fleet Feet. Anyone can sign up as a virtual participant and walk/run 26 minutes and 20 seconds each day as your own symbolic marathon through June 11th in solidarity. There is also the opportunity to run the final three miles with Sobieraski as he finishes his journey. Sign up here.

In addition to donations and support, everyone is invited to be at the finish line at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 11th at the Hall of Justice courtyard, 99 Exchange Blvd.

The Mazurkiewicz family will be attending.