Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Tunnel To Towers Run: My 1st 5K, Commemorating The 10th Anniversary of 9-11
Happy Tuesday! Remember how I promised to tell you what I did on the 10th anniversary of 9-11? Guess what? I participated in a 5K in Mobile - the "Tunnel To Towers" Run.
This race has been held annually in New York since the 1st anniversary of 9-11. It pays tribute to all first responders and is named after NYC firefighter Stephen Siller. Siller was on his way home from an an overnight shift when he heard about the attack on the World Trade Center over his scanner. Stephen immediately turned around in his vehicle and headed towards the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to head to WTC. Upon finding out that traffic had the tunnel blocked, this brave man abandoned his car and ran through the tunnel with 75 pounds of gear on his back...nothing would stop him from helping the citizens and his fellow firefighters. Stephen was picked up by a fire crew and transported to West Street and Liberty, near Ground Zero. He was never seen again.
On this, the 10th anniversary of 9-11, the race was expanded to other areas in the United States. When I heard it would be held in my hometown, I thought "What a great day to honor the 9-11 anniversary" and signed up.
Isn't the event tee shirt cool? :-)
The day began with a Sunrise Service at Battleship Park in Mobile. The USS Alabama Battleship is permanently housed at the park, and it is one of America's most decorated battleships. It was a gorgeous morning, and watching the sun come up over the Battleship was absolutely amazing.
The service was beautiful and very moving - with participation from members of the Mobile Fire Department, Mobile Police Department, the Mayor of Mobile, Mobile Sheriff's Office, a group of local high school students (my sister's high school - Mary G. Montgomery), and the Marine Corps League with a performance of Taps.
After the Sunrise Service, I had the pleasure of meeting the Mayor of the city of Mobile, Sam Jones. Mayor Jones was gracious and kind, and his assistant was absolutely hilarious. The assistant said he was "sending the picture to Hollywood". HAHA, doubt they call.
We didn't have a "team" or anything for the event - it was just me and my sister, Amy. (Where was the DH, you ask? Out of town for work - of course). Amy and I took a few pictures at Battleship Park before the 5K began.
Then it was time to pull the hair up, put on a hat, and get ready to go!
One of my favorite photos from Battleship Park, the city of Mobile in the background (we would be running close to the tall tower you see - RSA Tower, the tallest building in the state of Alabama). I love the sight of the American flag hanging from the fire truck's crane.
The race route took us across the Causeway and through the Bankhead Tunnel. This is the "old" two-lane tunnel that runs to downtown Mobile (not the tunnel you go through on I-10 which takes you over the bayway). I have NEVER experienced another feeling like the feeling of running through that tunnel. It was sooo cool - I don't have any other way to explain it. Such a feeling of empowerment and strength. I would run through there again today if it weren't for traffic, HA. Once we exited the tunnel, we saw this...
Now don't get excited - I didn't run the entire race. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm working on it. However, you can bet your sweet bootie - I did run over that finish line!
Once we crossed the finish line, we received a coin to commemorate the event.
We briefly celebrated in Bienville Square...the second photo is Amy with her DH, who wasn't out of town!
Then we enjoyed a sandwich and Strawberry Tea (yummy!) at one of my favorite restaurants in downtown Mobile, A Spot of Tea.
Whew! What a day! I have to say - it felt great to get out and DO something on the anniversary of 9-11. Normally I am tempted to stay home and watch television coverage - old footage, all the stories, etc. - all day long. This year I like to think I turned over a "new leaf". I participated in my 1st 5K to honor all the victims of 9-11, the first responders, and everyone affected by the events of 9-11-01.
I did spend an hour that night on the phone with one of my BFF's, who lost the love of her life in the North Tower on 9-11. It's always a tough day for her. We will never forget.
p.s. Now I am starting to train for my next 5K - which I intend to run the entire 3.1 miles. It's Halloween weekend, so wish me luck!