MISSOULA – First responders must act swiftly when reacting to an emergency situation. Fortunately for the citizens of Missoula, they can sleep well knowing the KPAX Athlete of the Week’s most recent accomplishment.

Fighting fires and responding to emergencies is Andy Drobeck’s day job. But when he’s off the clock, the Missoula city firefighter is still making strides to protect his city.

Locals understood that while spectating at the Missoula Mile on June 17. Drobeck geared up in his firefighter attire, and shattered the Guinness world record for “fastest mile in a firefighter’s uniform” 6 minutes, 8 seconds later. His time was nearly 35 seconds faster than the previous world record, set by San Antonio firefighter Marcos Munoz.

“With that last stretch, I knew I wasn’t blowing up or anything, so I knew I had it,” Drobeck said following the race. “But you never know who else is out there trying to break the record, so we definitely weren’t just going to break the 6:43 [time set by Munoz], we wanted to go lower so that we would actually get the record.”

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As a perennial triathlete who has won multiple triathlons around the country and internationally, Drobeck is also a six-time champion of the Seattle Stair Climb, an event that tests firefighters as they climb 69 flights of stairs. That training came in handy at the Missoula Mile.

“I weighed it [the gear] this morning, it was 21 pounds,” Drobeck added. “The boots though, obviously, it’s weird running with boots on … You know, it’s significantly slower. And I think it’s more that you’re just trying to get more distance on your stride because you got so much more ankle weight, so you can’t get that turnover that you’d normally get. It just feels like you’re lumbering through it I guess.”

Drobeck says his world record is “pending approval,” as Guinness reviews thousands of record-breaking attempts each year. With that in mind, he said it will take the publication as little as eight weeks, and as long as a year, before notifying Drobeck that he has the world record.

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