Calvin Wells, deputy chief of the Pasadena Fire Department, celebrated his 50th birthday on Friday in very unusual way.
There was no cake, no candles or balloons.
Instead, he ran up and down every one of the nearly 2,200 steps at the Rose Bowl Stadium!
When Calvin was a young firefighter, he ran the stadium stairs regularly. After all, when it comes to fitness, firefighters need to be at the top of their game so they can carry people down stairs, pull heavy hose lines up hillsides, battle structure fires, remove victims from inside wrecked cars, and more.
Just to give you a sense of perspective, here's an aerial shot of the stadium:
See the little white rectangles at intervals all around the interior of the stadium? Stairways go from the field all the way to the top of the stadium at each of those intervals.
Here's Calvin stretching as he prepares to meet this challenge:
I sent out a media alert on Wednesday letting them know about photo opportunities, but I didn't anticipate that news choppers would be noisily hovering overhead at 6 o'clock in the morning. (Sorry, neighbors.)
Calvin showed pure dedication every step (literally) of the way:
He was joined by a few firefighters who do this kind of training as a matter of course (that's Calvin at the lead):
Look who I found! Pasadena Vice Mayor Victor Gordo (with red stripe on pants) and Rose Bowl Stadium General Manager Darryl Dunn (in white t-shirt) take part in an early-morning athletic training program at the stadium three mornings a week:
When Calvin finished the stair run -- in just under an hour! -- he headed for the 50-yard line while everybody cheered.
A check was presented to the Ronald McDonald House in Pasadena. The Pasadena Firefighters Association has been sponsoring the facility for many years. On Friday, a few Pasadena firefighters who won $4,800 in a national fitness challenge turned the winnings over to this wonderful organization that provides a community-supported home away from home where parents and families of critically and terminally ill children can stay while the little ones are receiving treatment at Huntington Hospital and other nearby medical facilities.
Calvin came up to where I was sitting, about halfway up the stadium, and joined me for a chat. He was tired but very contented with his accomplishment!
To see a couple of examples of media coverage, here's KTLA-TV (channel 5) and here's the Pasadena Star-News.
Happy birthday, Calvin!!!!!!