People spot him running through the campus drenched in sweat and determination. With 15 marathons under his belt, UCF Deputy Chief Carl Metzger has been preparing for one of the world's most prestigious racing events taking place Monday.
"The Boston Marathon is the most prestigious, the oldest and the granddaddy of all marathons. I've wanted to do it for my entire marathoning career," Metzger said. "All of a sudden I had an opportunity come up. I had a phone call from someone I knew and they said, 'Hey, I have an opportunity for you if you raise money for a very worthy cause, then you can join the Massachusetts State Police Boston Marathon team and you can run.'"
Metzger gladly accepted the offer and is currently fundraising for the charity Cops for Kids with Cancer, which funds families who are left with a huge financial burden when their children get sick.
"I think it's an honor for UCF and the UCF Police Department," said UCF Police Chief Richard Beary. "He doesn't make this race about him, it's about the fundraiser. That's just in his character. He's a community person. He cares about Central Florida. He really represents the good things officers do and don't get enough credit for."
Metzger, 50, has been running for 12 years, but that's not the only running he has to do. He began serving 26 years ago at the Orlando Police Department where he retired as a deputy chief. Metzger was the Bureau Commander for Patrol Services and was responsible for roughly 400 sworn and civilian personnel, along with many other assignments.
For five days per week for seven months now, Metzger has been UCF PD's operations bureau commander, overlooking the fleet for all of the vehicles, victim services and regional campus officers.
Protecting more than 60,000 students can be time-consuming, but Metzger is still able to put in a few miles.
"I do three shorter runs during the week. Lately, it's been out on Research to Alafaya, Alafaya up to Gemini, around the Gemini loop and then back here. That's one run," Metzger said. "The bigger one is when I go up to McCulloch and go all the way to Orion, and then take Orion back around Gemini."
On the weekends, when he has more time to train seriously, he does 20-mile runs in Clermont, where he prepares for Boston's Heartbreak Hill, which is 20 miles into the race.
"The last time I did it, it was 92 degrees out and I ran out of water and it was a challenge to say the least," he said. "But at that point I said, 'OK, I'm ready.' If I can do that and Boston's temperatures will be cooler, it won't be as humid. I think I will be fine."
Metzger says he runs for his career to be in the best shape mentally and physically, and hopes to inspire other officers.
"I just witness his dedication for training and being fit for duty," said UCF Sgt. Chris Gavette, who has seen Metzger running in the gym and outside.
Metzger wishes he could've done the marathon sooner.
"I would've liked to have done it last year as sort of an affirmation that we aren't going to be intimidated in this country by terrorism. We are a free society and we need to be courageous and always step up and continue to live the way we do as Americans," Metzger said. "… I think everyone who's out there running in Boston are all running in tribute to some degree to all of the victims in that terrible tragedy.
"I'm proud to represent the university, and very proud to represent the UCF PD and profession."
Veronica Brezina is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future.