The Tunnel to Towers race is a bit longer than a 5K at 3.5 miles rather than 3.1. Today I finished in 37 minutes and 6 seconds. That’s about 11-minute miles. With 25,000 participants (according to CBS) it was crowded and confusing at the start but no less inspiring. My parents and I were in wave A and while making our way to the start was about a 2-mile walk in and of itself, once things got moving the feeling was electric.
The tunnel was crowded. For the most part, people ran on the left and walked on the right but with the limited space of the tunnel, the median sticks down the center line (if someone knows what those are called please tell me), and the range of paces in the crowd, there was a lot of weaving around slower runners and the median sticks necessary to maintain an 11-minute mile pace (I cannot imagine how faster runners felt; I know I wanted to go faster but could not do so safely and consistently in the crowd.). While I would have liked to have been able to go faster, this race is about so much more. No one is running this for time. We are all running to remember.
There were a lot of firemen running in their gear, holding flags.
There was a squad from the SUNY Maritime College of NY who got in formation when they played the national anthem and ran in formation the entire way! Those young cats were impressive!
While I was in the tunnel running behind that fireman in his gear I started crying a bit. I was thinking about Stephen Siller and the idea that the last thing this 34-year-old man did, rather than meet his brothers to play golf, was run through this tunnel to save people he didn’t even know. He died saving strangers. People. He RAN to his death to rescue strangers.
Oh man, I just almost started crying again.
There are a lot of stories like his. I am humbled by the greatness of his sacrifice and heartened by the capacity of my fellow humans for selflessness. His story is beautiful and heroic and there are so many other stories like his.
If you watch the news, you might have recently (or maybe for a long time now) been feeling like we are hopeless. But a day like today reminds me that people really are basically good and that we all are in this together. I think we need to do better. and I believe that we will.
As a reminder, I am running the Rock n’ Roll Brooklyn half-marathon for a cause! (You think I’m doing this for my health?) Each day I’ve included this information and links in my post so that I might garner a few more donations to help St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital to save a few more young lives. I have to admit, while I post this every day, donations are at a standstill. So even if you only have $1 to spare, every little bit helps and I hope you will throw a few dollars this way.
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Here is some information about St. Jude’s and the impact your donations make. Your donations are appreciated! Please donate to this wonderful cause here!
Donations make a difference
Every dollar donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital counts! Take a look at some of the possibilities that your effort could provide to the kids and families of St. Jude.
Infant Care Supplies for 10 Babies: $50
These supplies help parents and nurses care for babies in treatment and include items like diapers, baby bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, footies and heel warmers.
Wagons can make traveling through the halls of St. Jude easier for parents and more fun for a young child.
Parties to celebrate birthdays, holidays and “coming off chemo”: $75
St. Jude provides parties, decorations, cakes and more to keep spirits high during the holidays and to celebrate special occasions like birthdays and a child’s completion of chemotherapy treatment.
Creative Toys: $100
Play is an essential part of every child’s life, and it’s important for the children to have fun as often as possible. At St. Jude, colorful, toy-filled play areas are just as plentiful as exam rooms.
Delicious Meals: $210
St. Jude provides meal cards so that patients and families can enjoy the comfort and convenience of good, nutritious meals in the Kay Kafe, our cafeteria.
One Day of Oxygen: $447
Oxygen is key to keeping the immune system strong. A gift of oxygen can help a young body thrive and help fight cancer at the cellular level.
Child-sized Wheelchairs: $700
These special wheelchairs help children move easily through St. Jude.
Airfare for a parent and child: $1,000 Average
For a patient referred to St. Jude, the hospital covers the cost of airfare for a child and one parent or guardian.