Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tunnel to Towers Run

I was fortunate enough to have Katie visit me this weekend so we could both run in the Tunnel to Towers 3.5 mile race through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel this morning. The race is in memory of Stephen Siller, a fire fighter who on 9/11, after the bridges and tunnels closed to traffic, put on all of his gear in Brooklyn and ran through the tunnel to rescue people from the Twin Towers. Stephen did not survive but his memory lives on in this run and a foundation in his name.

I imagined that the run would be emotional. That was an understatement. I was crying as soon as we walked onto the approach to the tunnel and a girl was singing "When a Hero Comes Along" on the main stage. Not soon after, performance artist Michael Israel painted a giant picture of the Statue of Liberty while Neil Diamond's "America" played in the background. Had "Proud to be an American" come on, that would have been the end of me.

The start of the race itself was fun-- it's not very often that one gets to run through a toll plaza and through a tunnel. I was surprised how long the tunnel is and how hot it got.

But if I thought I was hot, I needed only to look around for the fire fighters and soldiers running with all their gear to remember why I was out there. Periodically, groups of people would also start up "USA" chants that reverberated through the tunnel.

there was a large UK contingent!!

The light at the end of the tunnel (no pun intended) was a welcome sight.

Even more wonderful was the sight of the fire fighters, wearing their dress uniforms, holding American flags and wearing large photos of their fallen brothers around their necks. That was that sight that I heard made the race so special. It was incredibly moving and gave everyone a real boost.

High school choirs, bands, cheerleaders, flag twirlers and other performers kept everyone's spirits high as we ran along the waterfront for the final 3/4 mile or so. My final push came as I could see the final corner but heard "hooo, hooo, hooo, hooo" getting closer and closer behind me. A large contingent of Army guys came running by and lead the way to the finish.

I hope to make the Tunnel to Towers an annual event for me...and my friends and family, hint hint!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great race! I highly encourage everyone to come join us next year :) We definitely need to wear Newtown or Rochester Fire Department t-shirts next time.

PS- As only her little sister can point out, what Erin failed to mention was that her extra motivation for looking strong coming out of the tunnel was knowing that Matt was waiting on the other end :)


11:46 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

well that might have been a reason I made sure I was running when I hit West street;-)

9:22 PM  

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