Racing in police uniform Hughes raises awareness and funds for fallen officers

Three years ago, Keegan Hughes signed up for a 70.3 triathlon without knowing a thing about the sport. He needed something to give him motivation to exercise everyday and a reason to get in shape.

Now, he isn’t just another triathlete. Hughes, a policeman who lives in Kansas City, Missouri, completes triathlons fully clothed in his armor to raise awareness for families of fallen police or firefighters.


Hughes gathered inspiration from Rob Verhelst, known as “Fireman Rob,” after watching him compete in the Ironman World Championships in hot lava fields of Kona, Hawaii, fully clothed in his firefighter gear. Verhelst was able to give him some advice on how to get started and how to raise awareness in the community.

Hughes will be competing this weekend in the first of two REV3 races he has registered for. He has raised $3000 dollars already this year, and still has three triathlons left on his racing calendar, including REV3 Wisconsin and REV3 Branson.


“To some, 3k is not a lot and to others it is,” Hughes said. “I see it as a lot more than expected for my first year, and I am extremely pleased.”

Hughes trains six days a week, mostly alone, but makes sure it doesn’t interfere with family time with his wife, Sarah and two sons Hunter, 9 and Hayden, 5. He enjoys biking most of the three disciplines, and has added in some hilly workouts to prepare for the REV3 courses this summer.

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Hughes’ hopes to complete a full ironman triathlon event next year, wearing full uniform for the entire 26.2 miles of the run. Ultimately, however, his goals reach far beyond crossing the finish line of a triathlon.


“My goal for Wisconsin Dells is to raise awareness for families of fallen police and firefighters,” Hughes said. “They need our support after their loved one was killed in the line of duty. My second goal is to finish with a smile on my face and my family in my arms.”

Jessica Broderick