During the Arnold Sport Festival’s weekend celebration of athleticism, perseverance and, of course, bulging muscles, Schwarzenegger personally awarded a Delaware City police officer for conquering a stair-climb competition.
Law enforcement officers and fire fighters raced to the top of the Rhodes State Office Tower Saturday in the Battle of the Badges, a Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) fundraiser.
Adrian Foust, a Delaware Police Department (DCPD) officer, placed first in the law enforcement’s solo division. He scaled the 40 flights of the region’s tallest tower in exactly 7 minutes and 30 seconds, said CFF Executive Director Susan Deutschle.
Eight other law enforcement officials participated in the solo competition, with more climbing in the two- and four-person relay teams. In all, about 350 police officers and fighter fighters from central Ohio participated, Deutschle added.
“It’s challenging, it’s hard work,” said Foust. “It’s a ‘don’t give up’ type of event.”
Foust said he also participated one of DCPD’s three four-person relay teams, earning eighth place with Aaron Kuck, Dan Madden, and Mark Leatherman.
Another DCPD relay team placed third; its members included Ramon Diaz, Austin Barnthouse, Rod Glazer, and Chris Cox. The other team, including Jason Flynn, Pat Gerke, Nick Strasser, and Bill Eusey, finished 9th out of the 15 other law enforcement teams.
Foust said he had participated every year since a friend challenged him to the climb five years ago.
Training was particularly challenging, Foust said, because the rules continually changed. Last year, for instance, Foust said he had to wear a 10-pound belt during the race. This year, Deutschle said police competitors wore a 18-pound vest.
“The vest put a lot of pressure on your chest and made it difficult to breathe,” said Foust. “You can’t just show up and do it without any training.”
Foust said he logged more training hours for this year’s competition. They paid off in terms of fitness, as well as a brush with fame.
On Saturday, Foust dined with Schwarzenegger and other honored athletes, received a medal from the former Californian governor and celebrity bodybuilder, and posed for a photo.
Foust also individually raised $574 for CFF. He said that the combined effort of 11 other officers brought the DCPD $5 shy of its $1,000 goal by the end of the weekend.
By the end of the month, Deutschle said CFF expects to raise $75,000.
“(The Arnold Festival) really, really helped raise the profile for this event,” Deutschle said. The foundation has hosted the event for 29 years, and partnered with Columbus’s Arnold Festival for the last three.
“(CFF) has dramatically extended the lifespan of people with this disease with a strategic research agenda,” said Deutschle.
She said the life expectance for those born with cystic fibrosis rarely lived to experience kindergarten. Now, she said the median life expectancy has grown to 37 years.
“It’s events like these that have made those kinds of results possible,” Deutschle added.
The competition is not quite over, though. The race to raise the most funds for CFF continues until the end of March, Deutschle said.
Donations can be made at centralohioevents.com/climb.