Soldier running to remember
September 8, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 8, 2011) -- He's not doing it to change the world or to spread "awareness," but Capt. Zach Keefer is running from the U.S. Military Academy to Ground Zero of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as his way of honoring those lost.
The Fort Rucker Basic Officer Leadership Course instructor won't be alone.
Keefer will be joined by other Soldiers from around the Army, including some West Point students, as they run the 55 miles from the academy to the former site of the twin towers. The run takes place on the 10th anniversary of that September day when airliner planes struck the towers as part of a coordinated terrorist attack against the U.S.
Nine runners will leave West Point, N.Y., Saturday evening after a home football game against San Diego State and make their way to Liberty State Park, stopping at 8:50 a.m. for a moment of silence before continuing to the city limit until sunset.
"This was just our way of remembering those who lost their lives and why we do what we do," Keefer said. "None of us are trying to make people more aware of what happened. We just want them to remember those who lost their lives that day."
He added that the group's way of honoring those who lost their lives was through running, but it isn't the only way to remember them.
"It's just my personal way of remembering them," he said. "You don't have to run to do that. On the 10th year, we just want people to do whatever it is they can to commemorate those people."
Keefer said the run will equal about 100 miles and each runner will run the entire time.
Preparing for this type of event is made more difficult for Keefer as he's still in recovery from his last running event, a 100-mile event called the Western States Endurance Run in June.
"This was easily the hardest time I've ever had running that event," he said. "I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to maintain my endurance for this event."
As an instructor, Keefer's duties keep him busy during the week and it can be difficult to keep up a steady training regimen. Luckily for him, he's never been one for "traditional" training methods.
"I really listen to my body and let it tell me what it can do on any particular day," he said. "I'm one of those guys that doesn't spend a lot of time in the planning phase for my workouts."
Keefer said he never thought of himself as being a runner until high school, when his JROTC instructor convinced him to come to a cross-country team practice.
"I never really ran before that," he said. "Ever since then, I've never really been consistent with my running, but I haven't really stopped either. For me, it's therapeutic."
This type of distance running is never about competing with anybody else, he added.
"Generally, if it's my first time running a particular event, I just try to have a good time doing it and push myself as far as I can go," he said. "I always want to do more."