Annual Tunnel to Towers Run Slated for Last Sunday of This Month
In what has become a rite of autumn in Lower Manhattan, the annual Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk will bring tens of thousands of runners, joggers, and walkers through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and into Battery Park City on Sunday, September 24.
At the July 20 meeting of the Executive Committee of Community Board 1, Susan Starr, the event’s director, recalled that “the Tunnel to Towers Foundation was started in memory of firefighter Stephen Siller, who had just gotten off work on September 11, 2001, when he heard on his scanner that the first plane had hit the towers. He returned to Squad 1,” his unit’s headquarters in Park Slope, “but they had left. So he grabbed gear from his locker, drove his personal vehicle to the mouth of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, and left his keys on the dashboard. He strapped 60 pounds of equipment to his back and ran through the tunnel to the towers, where he lost his life alongside other heroes and innocents that day.”
Ms. Starr reviewed milestones achieved by the organization in recent years. “Our Gold Star and Line of Duty programs provide mortgage-free homes for our nation’s most catastrophically injured veterans and, since 2021, to first responders,” she said. “And we are expanding our programs to include those who have lost their lives to 9/11-related illnesses. In 2022, we also launched our Homeless Veterans Program, which is a national campaign aimed at eradicating homelessness in the veteran community.” By the end of last year, the foundation had delivered more than 1,000 mortgage-free homes.
“By continuing to keep administrative costs low,” Ms. Starr continued, “we are currently able to allocate 95.1 cents of every dollar directly to our programs.”
Anyone wishing to participate in the September 24 event can register online by browsing T2T.org. Registration is priced at $85 for adult runners (who are issued a time chip) and $75 for adult walkers (no time chip). Children 14 and under who plan to run with a time chip are charged $10, while young walkers can participate without charge.
The race begins on the far side of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel (now known as the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel) at 9:30am. Free transportation from Lower Manhattan to the start of the race at the tunnel’s Brooklyn portal is provided via New York Water Taxi from Pier 11, starting at 6am.
The street fair on Vesey Street starts at 10:30am, and will offer food, drinks, and live music, plus activities for children. While free, admission to the fair is for race participants only. The event will conclude by 1pm.
Extensive local street closures, including West Street (south of Chambers), Liberty Street, and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel will begin before 6am. Most streets will reopen by 2pm, although the cleanup on Vesey Street will likely not conclude until 5pm.
“I hope you agree that this event is unifying, respectful, and uplifting, and that it honors and remembers those lost, while also celebrating the strength and resilience of the community and families and friends left behind,” Ms. Starr said at the July 20 meeting. “We realize we are guests while we are here, and is our desire to continue to be gracious guests, and to leave the area cleaner than when we arrive.”