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    LAPD, Cal Guard officer gears up for good cause: Kristina Tudor runs LA Marathon in full tactical uniform

    LAPD, Cal Guard officer gears up for good cause: Kristina Tudor runs L.A. Marathon in full tactical uniform

    Courtesy Photo | First Lt. Kristina Tudor of the California Army National Guard's 140th Chemical...... read more read more



    Story by Brandon Honig 

    California National Guard Primary   

    LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles criminals take note: Save your breath. Don’t try to outrun this cop.

    When Officer Kristina Tudor puts on her full tactical uniform, including body armor, helmet and boots, she carries at least 35 extra pounds – about 1/3 her body weight – but that doesn’t mean she can’t chase you over that hill. And the next hill. And the hill after that.

    An endurance athlete since high school, Tudor has at least a dozen ultra-marathons under her belt – that’s anything over 26.2 miles – including a 120-mile effort that took 27 hours of continuous effort.

    But at the LA Marathon in February, Tudor sought out and conquered a new challenge: 26.2 miles in full tactical gear. For a good cause.

    “Badge of Heart is a nonprofit that helps families who have been victims of crime – good, hardworking folks who police officers come in contact with every day,” Tudor said. “It’s something that has to be tackled head-on and awareness has to be brought to the issue.”

    Tudor established a web page where people could support her marathon efforts by donating to Badge of Heart, and more than $5,000 rolled in before race day. That paled in comparison, though, to the $20,000 she raised last year for families of fallen police officers, when she ran in her Class A uniform (boots and utility belt, but no body armor or helmet) to support the L.A. Memorial Police Foundation.

    “Around that time, there was a string of officers who passed away in the line of duty, so being able to wear the uniform and represent fallen officers … there’s no words to even describe it,” Tudor said. “It had a lot of meaning for me to wear the uniform my brothers and sisters have paid the ultimate price in, and mirror that through a marathon, with all the ups and downs and challenges a marathon poses.”

    When she’s not cracking down on crime or pushing the limits of endurance, 1st Lt. Tudor is often learning about deadly nerve agents or other dangerous materials in her role as a reconnaissance platoon leader for the California Army National Guard’s 140th Chemical Company. A soldier for the past seven years, Tudor said her Guard role is similar to her full-time job in that it requires physical and mental endurance.

    “You’re tackling stuff you can’t see, and you have to be able to adapt and fall back on your training,” she said. “Being able to operate in the field in a stressful condition is something I enjoy doing.”

    Working with hazardous materials is fascinating to Tudor, and even further, “Having a thin piece of plastic separating you from anthrax is a bit of an adrenaline rush,” she said. “For me, it’s perfect.”

    Tudor has received excellent training in the Guard, she said, and her Guard leaders have instilled characteristics in her that helped make her a successful officer in the LAPD as well as in the Army. Serving in the Guard is perfect for Tudor’s lifestyle, she said, because she has opportunities for military training and camaraderie, while also having the freedom to pursue her full-time career.

    One reason she chose the Guard over the Army Reserve is because there’s a wider range of occupational specialties available to Guard soldiers. One of the specialties that recently opened up to female Guard soldiers is Army Ranger, and Tudor said she might go that direction. After all, nobody can doubt her endurance, dedication or willingness to work through pain.

    In 2015, the temperature reached 92 degrees on the day of the LA Marathon, when Tudor was decked out in her dark, full-length uniform and boots, which lack flexibility and provide minimal support. By the end of the race, Tudor’s back and shoulders were tender, and her feet and ankles were extremely sore. But that didn’t stop her from adding body armor to the challenge in 2016.

    This time around, the mercury only went up to 79 on race day, and Tudor was pleasantly surprised that carrying her Kevlar helmet 26.2 miles did not hurt her neck and spine. The worst part about wearing the tactical gear was the friction burns it caused on her stomach and arms. The gear also absorbed sweat, making it heavier and heavier as the race wore on.

    “We were making really good time, but in the last six miles, the weight became a little crushing. I don’t think I said a single word [to my support team, which ran with me] from mile 20 through 24,” said Tudor, who had added five pounds of muscle to her frame in preparation for the race. “With the ballistic plate in the front of the vest, it was hard to breathe, let alone talk. I just decided to stay quiet and focus and try to get to the finish.”

    Tudor is going to keep pushing herself – “Maybe I’ll pull a police car with my teeth next time,” she joked – and keep supporting worthy causes in her community while wearing the LAPD uniform. We also may see her cover vast distances in her Army uniform and gear.

    “I think doing a 100-mile ruck march/run would be right up my alley … to raise awareness and funds for epidemics that plague the military, specifically homeless veterans,” she said. “Every little bit helps. You just have to keep chipping away, one issue at a time.”

    Serving in the Army and in the LAPD were not just career choices for Tudor. When she devoted herself to serving her community and her country, it changed her in a way she didn’t expect, bringing out aspects of her personality she didn’t even know she had.

    “Once you put on that uniform … and you’re a part of that department or family for so long, you get morphed into a person you didn’t know was there and accomplish things you didn’t think you could,” she said. “It gets you wondering about other things you can do, and how you can make a difference in other people’s lives.”



    Date Taken: 03.07.2016
    Date Posted: 03.07.2016 18:56
    Story ID: 191467
    Location: LOS ANGELES, CA, US

    Web Views: 1,984
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