Remembering 9/11: A List of Fitness Events Across the U.S. to Honor the Fallen
Plus, how you can show your support virtually or from afar.
Saturday will mark two decades since the tragic events of September 11, 2001. This day is forever etched into memory, and the nearly 3,000 souls who lost their lives at the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and those aboard United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, will never be forgotten. Although you can continuously support those impacted (Charity Navigator has a helpful list of organizations that are dedicated to raising money for the families of the victims and first responders), there are other ways you can commemorate those lost or affected in honor of the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11. (Related: Paralympian Melissa Stockwell On American Pride and Inspiring Perspectives)
Since Sept. 11, 2001, groups all over the country have come together to honor the lives lost through memorial races or remembrance sessions. Many of these events also help raise funds to support survivors and the families whose loved ones died in the terrorist attacks. Whether attending or supporting an in-person event or taking part in a virtual memorial due to COVID-19 concerns, there are several opportunities to commemorate those impacted by the harrowing events of 9/11, no matter where you are.
9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs
Back in 2004, a small group of Denver firefighters joined each other to walk up 110 flights of stairs to honor the climb done by first responders at the Twin Towers in New York on Sept. 11, 2001. In years since, groups across the country have expanded the symbolic stair climb, inviting members of the public to join in and symbolically retrace those steps. The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has a list of Sept. 11 memorial stair climbs to honor the 343 members of the New York City Fire Department who lost their lives that day, as well as the survivors and loved ones directly impacted. To find a stair climb near you, check out this list, which includes climbs through mid-November in various U.S. cities. The funds raised at each climb event will either go directly to local firefighters and/or to the NFFF. The NFFF provides funding to help firefighters who have experienced illness or injury as a result of the 9/11 attacks.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation's National Run, Walk, & Climb Series
Founded in the aftermath of the attacks, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation honors FDNY firefighter Stephen Siller, who lost his life on Sept. 11, 2001, after strapping on his gear and running through the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (then known as the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel) toward the Twin Towers. Since then, the non-profit organization hosts Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk events to honor Siller and other first responders who died that day. With more than 70 events around the globe in the coming weeks, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation's National Run, Walk & Climb Series invites walkers and runners from all over the world to join together and support victims, survivors, and their loved ones. Funds raised by the foundation provide mortgage-free homes to first responders, veterans, and their families from around the country, and registration costs vary based on each location. New York's Tunnel to Towers event will take place Sunday, Sept. 26, beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Empty Sky Memorial Virtual 5K Run/Walk
As a way to honor the 749 New Jersey residents who lost their lives during the Sept. 11 attacks, the New Jersey 9/11 Memorial Foundation hosts an annual run/walk event each September. This year, participants can join in person on Sunday, September 12th at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey, or virtually, completing the 5K anytime before September 30th. Proceeds from the $35 registration fee helps to ensure the ongoing care and maintenance of the Empty Sky memorial, which features the names of New Jersey's 759 victims etched into twin steel walls. The memorial is located across the river from Ground Zero.
9/11 Heroes Run 5K
Offering both in-person and virtual races around the country, the 9/11 Heroes Run 5K invites participants to lace up their sneakers and honor the sacrifices of the heroes from Sept. 11, and of the wars fought since. Proceeds go towards the Travis Manion Foundation, an organization started in honor of Travis Manion, first lieutenant of the United States Marine Corps, who was killed in Iraq in 2007 while saving wounded teammates. The organization works to support veterans and their family members. Events are taking place across the country in the coming weeks and this list provides dates and locations near you.
2021 Tour de Trail: Berlin, PA to Flight 93
The September 11th National Memorial Trail is a 1,300-mile multi-use route that links the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the Flight 93 Memorial in Stoystown, Pennsylvania. The third annual Tour de Trail brings cyclists through the Laurel Highlands region of Pennsylvania, including a loop through the grounds of the Flight 93 National Memorial. The 24-mile bike ride will be held on Saturday, September 18th, beginning in Berlin, Pennsylvania, and completing a full loop. For those unable to attend in person, the organizers invite anyone to "walk, hike, or bike 20 miles, 20 minutes, 20 steps, alone or with 20 friends." Each $45 registration fee goes towards preserving the trail for future generations to enjoy its beauty for years to come.
The Well: Community Workout Class
Virginia residents of all experience levels can join The Well Personal Fitness for a community-based strength, stretching, and mobility class at their Hanover location at 8 a.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 11. No equipment or prior yoga experience is needed for this 45-minute session, but participants are welcome to bring their own yoga mat and water. There will be a moment of silence to honor the anniversary, and guests can donate as much as they'd like, with proceeds going to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York.
9/11 Honor Challenge
Held in two locations — one in Huntington Beach, California, and the other in Southern Pines, North Carolina — the 9/11 Honor Challenge is a full-body challenge designed to honor those lost in the attacks. Participants will complete a series of events, each in observation of the victims. You'll work your way through a 2,763-yard run to honor the 2,763 people in the World Trade Center, a 343-yard fire hose drag in honor of the 343 fallen firefighters and emergency medical service people, a 110-flight stair climb in honor of the number of flights in the World Trade Center, 189 seconds of plank-holds to honor those in the Pentagon attack, 60 burpees to honor law enforcement and Port Authority Police officers, and 44 push-ups to honor the passengers on Flight 93. All proceeds from the event will go directly to Operation Open Water, a non-profit organization founded by a veteran and a pro surfer that aims to provide community and support to active duty service members, veterans, and first responders. Both events will be held on Saturday, Sept. 11, beginning at 8 a.m. ET in North Carolina and 11 a.m. PT in California.
The Jeff Coombs Memorial Road Race, Walk, and Family Day
After 19 years of honoring Jeff Coombs, an Abington, Massachusetts man who died in the Sept. 11, attacks, his family is commemorating the 20th anniversary with its final Jeff Coombs Memorial Road Race, Walk, and Family Day on Sunday, September 19th. The event, which raises around $50,000 each year, supports local Abington youths and families through enrichment programs within the school district.
The Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial Race
Hosted annually since 2002, the Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial Race 5K has had over 40,000 runners cross its finish line and has raised over $800,000 for 9/11-related charities, with this year's proceeds going to the Pentagon Memorial Fund (PMF), which helps maintain the Pentagon Memorial, a landmark that commemorates the lives of the 184 victims lost that day. In-person registration has closed, but virtual participants ($40) are welcome to sign up and join on Saturday, Sept. 11.
Peloton Remembrance Classes
Beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 11, Peloton will release three special remembrance classes on-demand on their platform. Each of the three classes, which include a 20-minute remembrance ride with Christine D'Ercole, a 20-min remembrance run with Robin Arzón, and a 10-minute remembrance mediation with Kristin McGee, will include a moment of silence during the introduction. (Related: The Best Peloton Workouts, According to Reviewers)
FHitting Room 9/11 Tribute
For all in-studio and Zoom enabled classes on Saturday, Sept. 11, the FHitting Room is offering first responders 20 percent off class packages (excluding memberships), through the end of September by calling or emailing any studio at email@example.com. Additionally, Fhitting Room has selected three charities that participants can contribute to help support those affected by Sept. 11, which are:
- Tuesday's Children: A non-profit supporting the families forever changed by the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
- FDNY Foundation: A non-for-profit organization that aims at funding programs to advance the goals of the FDNY, proving best available training and equipment for personnel.
- Tunnels to Towers Foundation: An organization honoring the life of firefighter Stephen Siller, as well as the miliary and first responders.