Starting in Florida and finishing in Rochester, New York, he faced physical and emotional challenges but remained determined to complete his mission.
Not everyone cares about their fellow workers and goes beyond their limits to do something for them. 57-year-old Brett Sobieraski is one of them, he ran 50 marathons in 50 days to pay tribute to his fallen colleague Anthony Mazurkiewicz and raised money for his family, reports TODAY. Anthony "Tony" Mazurkiewicz reportedly was killed in a shooting on July 21, 2022. Another officer was also injured in the incident. Mazurkiewicz was a 29-year-old veteran, working for the Rochester Police Department in New York. He has left behind his wife, Lynn Mazurkiewicz, their four children and three grandchildren.
This spring, his former colleague Sgt. Brett Sobieraski decided he wanted to pay a special tribute to his former colleague and raise money for his family by doing something impossible, running one marathon a day for about two months along the east coast. Sobieraski is a retired sergeant on the Rochester Police Department’s SWAT team. He also lives in Rochester, New York and spends his retired days doing ultra-marathons and other endurance sports.
Many months after his former colleague passed away, he decided to run marathons. "I knew I wanted to do something and it just came to me in the middle of the night that I’m going to run marathons through eight states," Sobieraski said. "Tony worked in the elite tactical unit within Rochester Police Department and their number designator is eight."
Before this, Lynn hadn’t met Sobieraski but had heard about him from her husband. “Tony would say that guy is crazy and he’d tell me stories about what Brett was doing after he retired Brett is swimming across Lake Ontario,” she said. Talking about Sobieraski and his marathon journey, Lynn said that he’s the kindest man. “But he’s crazy. Nobody does that,” she said. His aim behind doing the marathon was to "bring attention to his sacrifice as well as provide support for the family mostly financial, but emotional support also.”
He started his journey on April 23, 2023, and finished it on June 11. “I started in Florida and then I ran through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and then I finished in Rochester, New York,” Sobieraski said. It was not easy for him to complete the marathons. He said, "Some nights I went to bed and I wasn't sure how I was going to run the next day but I knew I could never quit, quitting was never an option.” Sobieraski shared that he kept a picture of Mazurkiewicz taped to the wall of his RV, to remain motivated each day. Moreover, Lynn would send him dad jokes to keep his spirits high.
He also spoke about the generosity of people he met on the way. "There was a waitress in Elkins, Virginia. She was actually the waitress, the owner and the cashier of this all-you-can-eat buffet and when she asked us what we were doing there and I told her, she gave us all the tips she had earned that day,” he said. During his last and final marathon, he reached Rochester, he had asked people if they would like to run with him for the last few miles to honor his former colleagues and more than 900 people signed up and ran the last three miles.
Sobieraski raised about $105,000 for the Mazurkiewicz family. Lynn said, “I think what Brett’s doing is incredible.” Moreover, he apparently left a blue heart-shaped rock in every state he went to. “I said I want a piece of our hearts left behind in every state,” she said.