COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Thousands will gather near the First Responders Memorial in downtown Columbia Friday night to lace up their shoes and run in honor of those who sacrifice so much.
The Tunnel to Towers Race was started in honor of Stephen Siller, a New York firefighter who died on 9/11. It's the fourth year the race is taking place in the Midlands and it celebrates and appreciates first responders and military service members who serve, save and sacrifice on our behalf every day.
Proceeds from the 5K will benefit the building of smart homes for quadruple and triple amputee veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also is a thank you to local first responders.
"Community support is second to none. It's just amazing that the number of people that come out here just to cheer us on -- that can't participate or don't want to. You have just as many supporters as you do runners and it's really fun to see," says Captain Brian Haley with the Irmo Fire Department.
"It just means everybody is supporting us and they haven't forgotten 9/11," says Irmo Fire Captain Nick Powell. "To see all the community come out and just cheer for us, friends and family to come out and run with you, to see the military from Fort Jackson and everyone from all around the state come out in support -- it just means a lot to all of us and lets us know everybody is there to support us."
The route this year is a little bit different than previous years. It will still start near the First Responders memorial next to the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on Lincoln Street at 7PM. The race course is reversed—participants will travel down Gervais Street, across the Gervais Street Bridge, into Cayce, up the Blossom Street Bridge and back to Columbia's Vista. Click here for street closures.
After the race there's going to be a big party with food and music. You can register until later this evening both online and in person and packet pickup will be at the convention center.