Tunnel to Towers run set to return this September after COVID-19 hiatus

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation will once again hold its run/walk through the Hugh Carey (Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel this September to raise funds supporting first responders across America.

The annual event honoring the memory of Firefighter Stephen Siller — one of the 343 FDNY members who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks – returns to the calendar after a hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The run/walk will take place on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 26, two weeks after the nation marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Every year before the pandemic, thousands of people participated in the Tunnel to Towers run/walk, retracing Siller’s final steps while also raising millions of dollars for the nonprofit foundation. The group has used much of its resources to pay the mortgages of families of active and retired first responders who died in the line of duty, or succumbed to illness related to their recovery work in the months and weeks after the 9/11 attacks.

The pandemic last year forced the Tunnel to Towers Foundation to scrap plans for the usual run/walk. Instead, the foundation’s president, Frank Siller, and members of the Siller family took part in a solitary walk through the Hugh Carey Tunnel to keep the tradition alive.

Firefighter Stephen Siller was initally off-duty on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. After learning that hijacked aircraft had crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, he grabbed his gear and attempted to travel to the scene on his own — only to get stopped at the Red Hook entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.

With his heavy firefighting gear on, Siller abandoned his vehicle and ran through the tunnel, eventually arriving at the World Trade Center site — but perishing in the ensuing collapses.

The Tunnel to Towers run/walk route retraces Siller’s final journey to the World Trade Center site, beginning at the Brooklyn portal of the Hugh Carey Tunnel. After runners exit the tunnel on the Manhattan side, they’ll wind their way through the Financial District streets to the finish line at the corner of West and Murray Streets.

Registration for the 2021 Tunnel to Towers run/walk is now open, starting at $55 per adult ($65 with the purchase of a timing chip). The registration fee increases as the event draws nearer.

On Sept. 26, participants will gather in the morning at the Ikea Parking Lot 9, 1 Beard St., Brooklyn. The race gets underway at 9:30 a.m.

For more information, visit the Tunnel to Towers website, t2t.org.