Tunnel To Towers 5K Run
It’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I am hours removed from completing my second 5K run. The outcome of this run was dramatically better than my first run. I can actually say human error was not a factor. The course was straightforward. And all that stood in my way was the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel which spans 1.7 miles.
Unlike my first 5K all 30,000 runners started at the same time. Once Mayor Rudy Giuliani counted down from ten, we were on our way. As I mentioned all runners started at the same time. In most races runners are placed in heat positions. While I suspect the Tunnel and lower Manhattan cannot be closed for too long, I worried about accidentally bumping into someone. The fear of injury lingers. But I then thought an injury can happen at any moment. I continued.
As I approached the tunnel, I was not thinking much. I had my iPod blaring punk rock songs. In a way I was enjoying the view. After I crossed the toll booth, I entered the tunnel. Thankfully I am not claustrophobic. Running inside the tunnel felt weird. These are tunnels one is accustomed to going through via a bus or a vehicle. Plus I expected pollution to permeate the tunnel. My ignorance. I thank the city for ventilating the tunnel.
While inside the tunnel the air smelled like potpourri. Speakers were placed along the course. Music blared inside. While I had my iPod on, I cannot tell you what songs played. Sorry.
As I ran on the right side of the tunnel, I was then kindly directed to move to the left. I wondered why. But then I discovered some of the wounded first responders and veterans participating in the event. We truly take a lot for granted. And I honored them by thanking them.
In the distance I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. I was in Manhattan. The tunnel felt a bit steep. I was slowing down. I felt winded. After exiting the tunnel to left were army cadets holding American flags, and to the right were 343 of New York’s Bravest, FDNY. They were holding banners in honor of the 343 FDNY members who perished on September 11, 2001. Their sacrifice is a MAJOR reason why I wanted to participate and raise money for first responders. I continued to run and in the distance was the under construction One World Trade Center (aka Freedom Tower).
I was overcome with goosebumps. The loud chants from the FDNY gave me my second wind. I ran with a purpose and proceeded to the right. I extended my hand they extended theirs. I thanked them for keeping us safe. They have a tireless job. But their job is not thankless. I proceeded to Lower Manhattan via the West Side Highway. When I ventured through the highway who do I happen to see? My father and brother.
As I honored the FDNY (pictured behind me), I was touched and excited to see my father and brother along the route. I will never forget that moment. While I wanted to stop and take pictures, I am very competitive. I had to run. So I did the next best thing, I gave them a cheesy pose. I love it.
I moved on along the waterfront Esplanade heading a few blocks north. We runners were greeted to music by a high school marching band and local residents clapping and cheering.
Running along the Esplanade for a few more minutes, we headed east toward the West Side Highway. In the distance were local residents and tourists cheering. FDNY and NYPD were there to provide support. I spotted the Finish line. At this point I ran on all cylinders. Picture Rocky running up the steps as he trained for his fight with Apollo Creed. Yup, that was me. I drowned the music and heard the spectators cheering me on. Awe inspiring.
I crossed the finish line. After 25:43 (unofficially) I was elated and proud of what just happened.
The party was getting started. The event sponsors provided runners with samples of great products and fruits. The organizers provided food and a concert from the “Lt. Dan Band”. The band is fronted by actor, Gary Sinise. Obviously the band name was inspired by Sinise’s character from Forrest Gump. Sinise travels with his band in hopes of raising money for his foundation and the Tunnel To Towers Foundation. Their hopes is to raise money for wounded veterans. Very noble.
Lastly, this sandcastle was the go to area for everyone. Enjoy.
For the record my Garmin watch did not provide me with accurate GPS information. Apparently, I lost a signal while running inside the tunnel. The watch, however, provide my accurate time. Major points.
To those who donated to the cause, I sincerely thank you. Let’s do it again next year.