Los Angeles Police Department officers face challenges every day on the job, but two officers will face a particularly daunting challenge on Nov. 27 when they embark on a 420-mile run from Los Angeles to Sacramento to raise awareness for fallen colleagues.
Senior lead officer Joe Cirrito, with the LAPD’s Olympic Division, and Officer Kristina Tudor, with the Metropolitan Division, are no strangers to long-distance running. The pair ran the 26.2-mile Los Angeles Marathon in full uniform earlier this year, and have participated in numerous other long-distance competitions.
But it will be the first time the officers have participated in such a lengthy run over a multi-day period. Cirrito and Tudor plan to run 20 miles each day in full uniform, with the goal of arriving in Sacramento on Dec. 8. They will leave from the LAPD’s police academy in Elysian Park.
“We have our police memorial [in Sacramento] honoring all fallen officers, and we will pay respect to those fallen officers,” Cirrito said. “There has also been a lot of support for police from the community, and a large part of it is letting the public know we are behind them.”
The officers are raising money for Concerns Of Police Survivors (COPS), an organization that supports the families of fallen officers and holds a summer camp for children. A portion of proceeds will also benefit the Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation.
The run is called Project Endure, and people can donate by visiting www.gofundme.com/endure. Dozens of fellow officers and others will support Cirrito and Tudor on their journey. Project Endure is sanctioned by the LAPD, but all department personnel involved are participating off-duty. The goal is to raise $10,000.
Tudor said she has been involved with long-distance running since 2009, and is looking forward to the challenge of Project Endure.
“It is definitely an experience you can’t put into words,” Tudor said. “You are going to put yourself through hell, but it’s definitely about something bigger than yourself. This one is about fallen officers, and letting their families know that the officers are not forgotten. It’s self-fulfilling. It’s such a long way, you just have to keep your head on straight.”
Cirrito has also been involved with long-distance running for several years.
“There is a lot of stress on the job, and running long distances is a way of leveling off, releasing and balancing out,” Cirrito said. “It’s been a really positive thing for me. I am very humble about this. This is something we are doing for the good of the families and the department. Anything I can do to raise awareness and help the families is definitely worth it.”
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