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Fundraiser usually held in Miami tower stairwell moves outdoors this year because of COVId-19

American Lung Association's annual "Fight for Air" climb moves to Hard Rock Stadiuim.
American Lung Association's annual "Fight for Air" climb moves to Hard Rock Stadiuim.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – A fundraising race usually held in the stairwell of a downtown Miami skyscraper moved outdoors this year.

The American Lung Association’s Annual “Fight for Air” climb, where more than half of the 408 participants were first responders, took place Saturday outdoors at Hard Rock Stadium instead of its usual One Biscayne Tower indoor location.

Because of COVID-19 protocols, runners were staggered in waves to better maintain social distancing.

They ran all the way up the stairs of the stadium next to fan seats, crossed over and then down the stairs and had to keep going until they reach the finish line.

In total, participants had to run up and down 915 steps.

Firefighters are regular participants because of lung disease being so prevalent in the profession from the hazards to their lungs from entering smoke-filled buildings.

One firefighter told us the fundraiser is personal for her.

“As you can see, my helmet is in memory of somebody who was a double lung recipient and lost her fight last year. So, to honor her this year, what better than to do this for her and her family?” said Jeannette Harrington of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.

To take part in the race, participants had to pay a registration fee of anywhere between $15 and $35. They also had to fundraise $100 or more.

Organizers said that they are expecting Saturday’s event to raise about $135,000 for lung disease and the organization’s COVID-19 Action Initiative.

About the Author:

Madeleine Wright is a general assignment reporter for Local 10 News. She joined the team in March 2017.