You're going to see local firefighters running this year's New Bedford Half Marathon in full gear, and it's for a great cause.

The 42nd Annual New Bedford Half Marathon is Sunday, March 17, and for the second year in a row, members of the New Bedford Fire Department will run the course (in half-mile increments) in full gear and air tanks to help raise money for the Eric Fernandes Memorial Scholarship Trust Fund.

Last year, 26 participating firefighters raised $6,000 for the fund that was set up in honor of fallen firefighter Eric Fernandes. Fernandes was a New Bedford Firefighter with Station 11 on Brock Avenue when he died in a motorcycle accident in 2011.

The NBFD is hoping to raise even more money this year and double the number of firefighters they have in the race.

Every firefighter had to raise $100 in order to run, some raised more. The rule is as soon as you turn in your $100, you can pick any leg on the course. Some are more difficult than others, some are higher visibly. It's definitely competitive to see who can turn in their $100 and get the good spots. Last year was such a big success and we have guys concerned with running with gear on and twisting an ankle and how hard it might be to do, but with the success of last year, a lot of the guys who ran it spread the good word and now we have guys that are really looking forward to doing it this year. I'd like to double the number of guys running this year. that's our goal. - Michael Michoud, NBFD D6 Group D

For more information on how to support New Bedford Firefighters as they run their pack relay, contact Michael Michoud, New Bedford Fire Department Engine 6, Group D or any New Bedford firefighter you may know personally.

The Eric Fernandes Memorial Scholarship Trust Fund is an independent non-profit organization that is committed to supporting our young adults in their journey of seeking higher education. Each year The Eric Fernandes Memorial Scholarship Trust Fund will award scholarships for selected children of New Bedford firefighters who are seeking higher education.

For more information on the Eric Fernandes Memorial Scholarship Trust Fund, click here.

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