More than 20,000 people gathered before the Battery Tunnel to participate in a 5K run early on Sunday morning on September 30, 2012. Why were these people all there? For one reason: to run to help a ton. They were all there as participants in the annual Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run in New York City.
When we arrived in the morning, the atmosphere was charged with enthusiasm. People from all over the area had gathered to make a difference and to show support to the families who lost loved ones on the tragic day of September 11, 2001. Buses kept arriving at the stop, dropping off droves of people of all different ages. The Wagner Swimming and Diving team, as well as the Wagner Water Polo team, have participated in this event for the past several years to help support the cause. This event has always been exciting, and a great way to be part of the New York City community.
As I approached the entrance of the tunnel, I heard the roar of the enthusiastic participants who had entered the tunnel before me. The crowd was chanting "U-S-A, U-S-A," and there were cheers that rang through the whole tunnel. As I became part of the pack of runners, I passed by people of many ages; elderly men and women and even young three-year-olds who were stumbling along under the eyes of their watchful parents. This year, I had the honor to see a hero making the 5K walk through the tunnel. I had the chance to take a picture of this brave man, who had lost both of his legs, yet he was making the 5K trek.
This man showed us all the power of the human spirit. He was a man who set an example of the strength that Americans possess and is a hero to us all.
Running the Tunnels to Towers 5K run has become a tradition for Wagner College. The run is open to anyone in the community, and the school coordinates buses to help bring all the participants to the starting area. I am looking forward to next year to run this race again. It is a rewarding experience, and definitely a day full of inspiration and enjoyment for everyone who has the heart to run to help a ton.