This past weekend I was blessed with an amazing opportunity to join a division at my company for a 3 day weekend in New York City. My company is a co-op, and one of the divisions at my company, which is actually a competitor of my division, allowed myself and a handful of other non-division employees to join them. The division was one of the main sponsors for the 13th annual Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers charity race.
If you aren’t familiar with the history of the Tunnel to Towers race and how it started, it all goes back to 9/11. Firefighter Stephen Siller, who was off duty in Brooklyn, ran through the Battery Tunnel in all of his gear to put his life on the line to save thousands of innocent victims of the 9/11 attacks. This foundation was created by his brother, to honor all of those that lost their lives that day.
The morning started with a 5:45 am wake up call, followed by gathering our group in the hotel lobby at 6:30 am. We headed a few blocks down to the river, where we waited in line for a water taxi to take us to Brooklyn, where the race started.
It was the perfect day for a race and to honor those that sacrificed their lives.
We got to the starting line around 8, and waited around for close to 2 hours, before our wave was released. Within 2 minutes of the race, we were running through the tolls, and about to enter the tunnel, which was 1.7 miles long.
The tunnel started easy, as it was at a downhill, before it evened out, and the thick air took over. Firefighters ran in all of their gear, as Stephen Siller did 13 years ago. Some of these firefighters even passed me!
Around the 2 mile mark, we made it out of the tunnel, where we were greeted by police officers and firefighters.
Each man had a beautiful sign of each first responder who lost their life saving others. They were cheering US on, high-fiving us as we ran past, and when I thanked one for his service, he instead thanked me.
After high-fiving and thanking the service men, we made our way to the waterfront, where the FDNY boat put on an amazing show. I was in pure awe, and could have just watched this for hours. Can you imagine seeing that during your race? I love how a rainbow shoots across the boat too!
We ran past cheerleading squads and marching bands, and thank goodness for them, because this was one of the most difficult races I have ever ran. The 2nd half of the tunnel was a gradual increase, which I ran the entire length of. My insides wanted to explode on that incline, so by the time I hit the streets of New York, I was more than ready for this race to end. It kept going on and on, and every time I was expecting to see the finish line, we would instead turn onto an additional block. Once I turned a corner and saw the balloons, I booked it.
After the race, our division had VIP passes to be in the front area for the post-race benefit rally, before we headed back to our hotel around 12. I enjoyed the best shower of the weekend. Seriously, being in your sweaty clothes for 2 hours post-race and standing in a crowd of 40,000 makes you seriously want to go crazy.
After the shower, I met up with a group of coworkers for a lunch at Bill’s, before heading to Central Park near Columbus Circle. It was here that I got to spend a few hours with Jen and her FIANCE! We parked our tooshes on a park bench and chatted the afternoon away.
Subway selfie. Love this girl. I promised her that if something didn’t work out, that I would look for jobs in NYC to be with her. Well, that promise might be happening sooner than expected. Just kidding, I do not think that I could live in a city.
We parted ways around 6, and I took to my hotel room to freshen up for our last team dinner. I can’t even begin to describe the beauty of Battery Gardens, which is where we had a team dinner. We had views of the waterfront and the Statue of Liberty. This would be the perfect date night!
Monday called for another early wake-up call, which was accompanied with this view. I never get a hotel room in NYC with a beautiful view, so the fact that I got this view with that sunrise was fabulous!
After showering and packing our bags, we headed a few blocks over to get a private tour of the 9/11 Memorial Museum.
We easily spent hours in here, and I couldn’t believe how it was basically a never-ending maze. There were stories, voicemails, worn clothing, shoes, dust-covered clothing racks, shattered police doors, pieces of the airplanes. Anything you could imagine is in this museum.
This firetruck that was destroyed. Yes, that is real.You really just need to go to the museum. It’s not a touristy thing, so if you live in the city or are just visiting, you need to go here. It makes you appreciate life so much more.
After a somber morning at the museum, we headed back to the hotel, where we boarded our bus for a 5 hour drive back home.