Firefighter ties Ironman race record while honoring Arizona hotshots

Oct 19, 2015, 5:21 PM | Updated: Oct 20, 2015, 9:30 am

PHOENIX — A man who ran in remembrance of 19 fallen Prescott hotshots tied a world record for Ironman races in Arizona over the weekend.

Rob Verhelst, a 38-year-old firefighter from Madison, Wisconsin, ran his 22nd Ironman 70.3-mile race on Sunday, tying the Guinness World Record. He said it was an honor to tie the record while honoring the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who died battling the Yarnell Hill Fire in 2013.

“We’re all family across the board,” he said. “We all put our lives on the line daily for our communities and for our other firefighters. It’s such an honor to be able to go out there and honor those 19 that were lost, as well as their families that have to deal with it every single day.”

While Verhelst’s accomplishment is nothing short of impressive, it’s worth noting he does things a little differently than the standard triathlete.

“I have done every single one of my races in full firefighter gear,” he said. “That includes the bumper pants, the coat, the air pack and the helmet, weighing upwards of 50 pounds.”

In addition to capturing Ironman records, Verhelst also runs the Fireman Rob Foundation, a charity that delivers teddy bears to children in the hospital.

“We have an amazing little individual, Tyler (Krater),” Verhelst said. “He is a family friend, and he is raising funds for his friend, Logan, who goes to Phoenix Children’s Hospital for treatments all of the time. He wanted to make that impact, so we delivered 100 bears to children at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in honor of Logan.”

The foundation has delivered about 750 bears to children in the last two years.

“To give that family that one moment, that one smile, to boost their endorphins, to boost that while blood cell count and to just have them have something that’s positive in such a traumatic environment there in the hospitals,” Verhelst said.

Verhelst will try to break the record for 70.3-mile Ironman races completed in one calendar year on Nov. 8 in Austin, Texas.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Police arrest suspect in stabbing death of 33-year-old man in Phoenix

Police arrested and charged a man with murder in the stabbing death of a 33-year-old man in Phoenix late Saturday, authorities said.
1 day ago
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Man taken to hospital by family after being shot in Phoenix dies

A 33-year-old man who was taken to a hospital by family members Friday night after being shot in Phoenix has died.
1 day ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Police seek public’s help in shooting death of man in Phoenix

Police are asking the public for information in the shooting death of a 30-year-old man in the parking lot of a business in Phoenix.
1 day ago
(Metro-Phoenix Public Affairs Council Photo)...
KTAR.com

Christmas lights return to Latter-day Saints temple in Mesa after 5-year hiatus

Christmas lights have returned to the Latter-day Saints temple in Mesa this season after more than five years since they were last showcased.
1 day ago
An estimated 80% of the more than 400,000 children in foster care across the U.S. struggle with sig...
Cronkite News | Chase Drumgoole

Arizona organization helps bridge gaps between foster kids and families

In Arizona, the nonprofit Aid to Adoption of Special Kids is working to help children persevere during their time in the foster system.
1 day ago
(Salt River Fields Photo)...
KTAR.com

Scottsdale 1 of 8 US cities hosting ‘Enchant’ holiday light maze

People can see one of the world's largest holiday-themed light events from right here in the Valley as "Enchant" is taking place at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Firefighter ties Ironman race record while honoring Arizona hotshots