NEW YORK — The Tunnel to Towers 5K honoring a 9/11 first responder who died saving others will proceed as planned this Sunday in the wake of recent bombings in New Jersey and New York City.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation said they won’t cancel the run, saying their security historically has been tight since the event began in 2002.
“In addition to honoring the military and first responders, the safety of all the participants in our Run is uppermost in our minds,” foundation CEO Frank Siller said in a news release. “Therefore, we have spent months developing comprehensive security measures in conjunction with the NYPD, the FDNY and the PAPD as well as own private security staff.”
Siller said the reaction of New Yorkers to the Sept. 17 bombings reinforced the decision to continue to hold the 5K.
On Saturday morning, a pipe bomb exploded in a trash can before the start of a Marine Corps 5K race in Seaside Park, New Jersey. No one was injured and the race was cancelled.
That evening, an eerily similar explosion rocked Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood and injured 29 people.
Ahmad Khan Ramani was arrested Monday morning in connection with both bombings. He was captured after a shootout with police in Linden, N.J.
“New Yorkers deal with challenges with great resiliency, and are determined to go about their lives,” the news release reads.
Despite road closures and evacuation orders near the site of the Chelsea explosion, New Yorkers continued on with life as usual. Many said they had no hesitation about returning to the area.
Runners follow the route that firefighter Stephen Siller took on 9/11 when he rescued civilians at the World Trade Center. The route starts at the entrance of the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel in Brooklyn and ends in Lower Manhattan at Vesey and West streets.
Siller, 35, was a firefighter with Brooklyn’s Squad 1.
On Sept. 11, 2001, he had just finished a shift and was on his way to play a round of golf with his brothers when he heard the news that a plane had hit the Twin Towers.
Instead of going about his day, he told his wife to relay the message to his brothers that he would see them later and he went back to the firehouse to grab his gear.
Siller drove his truck to the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel before he was stopped by security. The tunnel had been closed.
Instead of turning around, Siller strapped his 60 pounds of gear to his back and ran through the tunnel into lower Manhattan. He died saving countless people who were in and around the besieged World Trade Center.