Tunnel To Towers 5K Run & Walk New York City
Sunday, September 29, 2019
On September 11th, 2001, firefighter Stephen Siller had just gotten off the late shift at Squad 1, Park Slope, Brooklyn. He was on his way to play golf with his brothers on that bright clear day when his scanner told of the first plane hitting the Twin Towers. When he heard the news, he called his wife Sally to tell her he would be late because he had to help those in need.
He returned to Squad 1 to get his gear, then took his final heroic steps to the World Trade Center. When Stephen drove his truck to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, it was already closed to traffic. With 60 pounds of gear strapped to his back, he ran through the Tunnel, hoping to meet up with his own company. Stephen laid down his life on 9/11.
Ever since, the Siller Family has honored his legacy with the Tunnel to Towers Run. The event supports children who have lost a parent, firefighters and military who have been seriously injured and sacrificed their quality of life in the line of duty.
Support our first-responders and military who make extraordinary sacrifices in the line of duty.
Tunnel To Towers 2019
Watch our special 2019 presentation on Tunnel to Towers here:
Frank Siller Discusses His Younger Brother’s Impact
Tunnel To Towers’ Frank Siller Talks About Annual 5k Race Ahead Of 9/11 Anniversary
Catherine Christman Discusses What’s New This Year
Gold Star Widow Jennie Taylor On The Stephen Siller Foundation
CBS2’s Alex Denis Discusses What The Event Means To Her
Gold Star Widow Stephanie Wildrick On The Stephen Siller Foundation
Rich Latek On How General Motors Works With The Stephen Siller Foundation
Tony Lemma On How Home Depot Works With The Stephen Siller Foundation
Pre-registration is strongly advised and required if you want a timing chip. The registration fee is $60 for runners and walkers without a timing chip. Children under the age of 14 run for free. Timing chips are an additional $10 regardless of your registration date.
You can register online, by mail or in person. Registration packets can be picked up in advance or on race day. Day-of registration is allowed but expect long lines and don’t be late; the race starts promptly at 9:30 a.m. If you are planning on race-day registration, make sure to get to the IKEA Parking Lot at 1 Beard St. in Red Hook, Brooklyn no later than 8 a.m. Backpacks cannot be worn during the race.
Same-day registration and bib pick-up start at 7:30 a.m. in the IKEA Parking Lot and water taxis will be available. Free water taxis are available at Pier 11, but you must get in line for them no later than 7:30 a.m. Cars will not be permitted to park in the IKEA lot, so don’t drive to Brooklyn unless you want to search for a spot on the street. Parking near South Street Seaport is recommended.
It’s not easy to get to the start line by subway. You can take the F or G train to the Carroll Street station but you’ll have about a 30-minute walk to IKEA. The B 61 bus goes straight there but will be running on a Sunday schedule. However you get there, it will be worth it. The adrenaline of the crowd is exhilarating and immediate.
People start to line up around 8:30 a.m. Service dogs are the only animals allowed and strollers or wheels of any kind are prohibited — it is a foot race only. At around 9 a.m., there will be some speeches and the “National Anthem” will be sung. White doves will take flight and before you know it, you’ll be racing toward the Tunnel. Iron mounds rescued from Ground Zero anchor the mouth of the tunnel and everyone jumps up to high-five the banner at the official start line.
You’ll be running with thousands of people but once you get into the tunnel, it’s surprisingly quiet. It gets a little harder then, but just when you feel like your chest is going to explode, you’ll see sunlight.
When you burst out of the tunnel, the first thing you’ll lay eyes on is the Freedom Tower and a crowd of firefighters proudly holding up posters of the FDNY’s fallen. There will also be a water station, but you’re not at the finish line yet. The race continues in Siller’s footsteps up the Battery Park Esplanade where countless New Yorkers on land and boat will be cheering you on. Finally, the finish line and another banner to leap up and touch will be in sight.
The After Party
Water and fruit will be waiting for you at the finish line, but keep following the crowd and land in the best after-party ever. Be sure to nab your race T-shirt (included in the registration fee) before they run out of your size. Tons of restaurants set up booths and hand out free food. Linger over a great selection of post-run favorites like wings, burgers and pasta from local restaurants. Keg beer can be bought up and down the street and activities for kids make the Tunnel to Towers after party an integral part of the day’s experience. As soon as it’s over, you’ll be counting the days until next year’s race.
– Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.