FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Runners filled the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel on Sunday as part of an annual 3.5-mile race to honor victims of the World Trade Center attacks and one hero in particular.
The Tunnel to Towers race retraces the final steps of Stephen Silver, an FDNY firefighter who died after charging through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel on foot headed to the World Trade Center, carrying 60 pounds of gear after he saw the 9/11 attack.
More than 25,000 participants ran or walked the route this year, topping last year’s record for the highest attendance in the event’s 12 years history, according to organizers. It attracts runners and civil servants, like firemen and police officers, from all around the Northeast, like Zac Rubin, a firefighter from Far Hills-Bedminster Fire Department in New Jersey.
“It’s about friends and the cause. It’s not really about your speed or your time,” said Rubin, who ran the race for his fourth consecutive year.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation was the family's way to honor the WTC victims and also military members who have been injured or have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty, organizers said.
Matt Wood, 23, a firefighter from Warwick, Rhode Island, said it was a unique experience for him. "Coming out of that tunnel and just seeing all of FDNY out there was just incredible,” he said.
Lisa Prat, who ran in honor of her best friend's twin who died in the towers, agreed. “Every year is special. It doesn’t get any easier, but every year when I put this shirt on I feel proud that I’m running for him."