SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Highway Patrol cadets about to graduate ran to the Capitol Wednesday morning in the annual symbolic Cadet Run.

Seventy-nine cadets set out on the run, which culminated more than six months of training to become CHP officers. The five-mile run started before sunrise at the CHP Academy in West Sacramento and ended at the State Capitol.

The long standing tradition wasn't only a moment for the graduates to celebrate their achievement, but also to pay their respects to the more than 1,600 men and women who have given their lives to serve and protect the public in California.

The cadets gathered at the California Peace Officers’ Memorial monument to remember all the victims.

"It’s one of the most symbolic moments for me,” cadet Collin Thurston said. "It’s a reminder about how dangerous this job can be, but it also reminds us why we decided to get into this field."

Thurston was one of the 79 cadets who participated in the run. His father, a retired CHP officer, cheered him on along the route by waving flags and banners.

Thurston said he was happy to celebrate his new beginning and hopes to make his father proud. "It’s a big deal for me to be able to follow his footsteps, as I ran I pictured myself in my uniform serving my people, just like my dad did,” he said.

The 79 cadets will graduate Friday morning and will participate in a series of actiivities at the academy before the big day.

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