Tunnel to Towers

Yesterday’s race was fueled by emotion. Throughout the entire 3.1 miles, I was inspired and motivated by the brothers and sisters of the 343 firefighters lost 10 years ago. Over 350 firefighters, most in full gear, ran the course in memory of Stephen Siller.

Firefighter Stiller was getting off his shift on the morning of September 11, 2001, but he heard of the emergency situation after the first plane hit on his scanner, and called his wife to tell her he’d be late. He turned around and went back to his firehouse, Squad 1, to get his truck. He encountered the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel blocked due to traffic, so he strapped over 60 pounds of gear to his back and ran to the towers to join the rest of his company.

A year later, in 2002, his friends and family started the Tunnel to Towers Run/Walk, following in Firefighter Stiller’s footsteps. Over the last 9 years, over 30 cities across the United States organized races patterned after the original in New York City. This year was the inaugural race in Ft. Lauderdale, and I am honored to have been a part of it.

Throughout the race, I ran alongside the firefighters and emergency personnel who attended from as far South as Key West and as far North as Palm Beach. Their chanting encouraged me to keep going. Their endurance gave me strength, their courage inspired me.

I ran my best time yesterday – 12:04 for my first mile, 24:01 for my second mile, and finished the race in 38:27 minutes. I ran most of it, with very small breaks (under a minute), during the first two miles. The last mile was a bit more difficult as I had blister on the arch of my right foot, but I’d catch myself complaining and reminded myself that a blister is nothing compared to what the men and women I’m representing went through.

Between the second mile and the end, local fire trucks drove past and were honking at us. One of the times I slowed down a bit, a fellow runner was walking alongside a firefighter who seemed tired. The man suggested he take off his coat and he’d carry it for him the rest of the way. The fireman responded, “Thanks man, but I’ve got to do this”.

Doing this race doesn’t compare to what men and women in uniform do for us, but it is one of the few things I can do to repay them for putting others’ lives before theirs. And I am forever grateful for the opportunity to run beside some of them in the memory of those lost.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.