Since last year, I’ve been looking forward to running this race. This was the 3rd edition of the Tunnel To Towers Run in Savannah and I haven’t had the opportunity to do it before because the first year I was living in Chicago and then last year we were traveling for work. Hearing all the stories from my fellow Savannah Striders just made me want to be a part of it!
As I mentioned on a previous post, Bobby and I were very excited about being the race captains since the moment they asked us because we believe it’s a great cause and a way that we can give a little bit back to our community. We had some information about Stephen Siller and the foundation his family created after he lost his life on 9/11/01, but we wanted to know more about him so we did some research. We found out that he lost both of his parents before he was 10 years old, he sacrificed his life when he was only 34 and he left a wife and 5 kids behind.
The race started at 8:00 am on one of the beautiful squares in Savannah’s historic district. I had the opportunity to meet Dominique, one of my beautiful followers, and Frank Siller, one of Stephen’s brothers. After saying hi, we jumped right away on the starting line where we listened to the national anthem sang by Ernie Ledesma, the best sport PT in the area.
Around 1,000 runners complete this race every year in Savannah!
I knew from the beginning that I wanted to do the whole race with Bobby. To me this was not about going super fast, but about spending time with my husband while enjoying the beautiful course and all the surprises that I knew we were going to find throughout it.
This is a race that’s held in different cities across the U.S. but it started in New York where 30,000 runners meet each year to run from Brooklyn to Manhattan through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel where Stephen Siller took his last heroic steps. Here in Savannah they wanted to recreate something similar and being a town with no tall buildings I felt it was a hard task… but they did an amazing job!
Around mile 1 we went through two small brick tunnels and right when we got out of the second one there was a modern white building that emulated one of the Twin Towers. By that point I was ready to start crying. There were militaries and firefighters wearing their whole uniforms (including boots) and pushing double strollers in a crazy hot and humid weather that felt like 100F.
We kept going and when we got to Forsyth Park there were 343 kids representing Stephen Siller and his 342 brothers from the FDNY who lost their lifes during 9/11. Each kid was holding and American flag and the face of each firefighter… how emotional is that!?
At this point I realized that I’ve been smiling the whole race but that at the same time I just wanted to stop and cry. We crossed the finishing line right where we started and hanged out with some friends until it was time for the award ceremony.
Bobby said a few words that were followed by a very powerful speech by Frank. He explained how the foundation builds smart houses for militaries that have lost 1,2,3 and even 4 of their limbs while fighting for this country. Then we had the opportunity to congratulate and gave medals to everyone who placed on their age groups!
This race was definitely and eye opener and made me realized once again how lucky and blessed I am. I feel we all need to try to take a minute at the end of each day and count our blessings. There’re so many simple stuff we take for granted… I go for a run 4 times a week and I feel it’s normal, but hearing the stories about people that are missing one or both of their legs put things into perspective. I definitely encourage all of you to look if there’s one of these races in your area and to attend next year! You can walk, jog or run the whole thing… or you can just go watch and get some inspiration!