Lucia Lopez, Assistant Classification & Parole Representative, donned her uniform for the Peace Officer Memorial Run in early October.
Lopez, who works at Sierra Conservation Center, began training in January with the goal of taking on the Peace Officer Full Gear Challenge at the memorial run.
The run was held in Modesto on October 2 and Lopez, in her Class A uniform, ran a half-marathon of 13.1 miles.
“I ran in my uniform to show my respect to all the fallen officers in Stanislaus County and to represent SCC in public,” Lopez said. “The Class A shirt and jacket I wore actually belonged to my late aunt, retired Lt. Victoria Contreras. She donated the uniform to me before she passed away in October 2019. My aunt proudly served 22 years at the Division of Juvenile Justice’s N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility. During her career, she was also active in running.”
Lopez said it felt right running in her aunt’s uniform.
“So running a half marathon in her Class A uniform is something my Aunt Vicki would have done if given the opportunity,” she said.
For months, Lopez trained for memorial run
To get ready for the run, Lopez trained for nine months.
“I would train after work and during the weekends. I trained all summer long, running in 100-plus degree heat and drinking plenty of water. I went through three pairs of running shoes during my training. I trained in my Class B uniform for two months before the race,” Lopez said. “As I got closer to the race, I added training with my vest a month before the race and then with my duty belt two weeks before the race.”
Since taking up running, she’s completed three 5K, three 10K, and a half-marathon trail run.
“I have fallen during one of my races, lost a toenail and run out of breath, but the best feeling is reaching the finish line every single time. It’s an accomplishment no one can take away or minimize because I worked very hard and remained dedicated to getting the job done,” she said. “I guess the job brings out the best in me.”
Finding work-life balance through outside activities
“I encourage everyone to find a sport or an activity to keep you healthy because this job can often be stressful,” she said. “The accumulated stress and the time away from your family and loved ones can take a toll.”
Next up for Lopez? She’s got her eyes set on representing SCC and CDCR, again in full uniform, at the Support the Blue 10k Run Feb. 25, 2023, in Fresno. The run supports the Fresno Police Department Chaplaincy. She’s hoping some of her coworkers and fellow CDCR officers will join her.
“After 16 years as a Correctional Officer and Assistant Classification & Parole Representative, I am proud of my Class A uniform and everything CDCR represents,” she said.
Submitted by Lt. Ruben S. Jauregui