Specialist Hunter Harris, 526th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) wanted to test herself the same way first responders were tested the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
“I wanted to do something for our fallen,” Harris said. “I see people all the time who do these runs and who climb flights of stairs on the Stairmaster, and I wanted to contribute and put my all out there.”
About 81 residents of Fort Campbell and the surrounding communities came together in a spirit of unity and strength for the Sept. 11 Hero Run to honor those lost during the 9/11 terror attacks, and to show respect for the fallen who answered the call to protect the nation in the years that followed.
The run, that started and finished at Shaw Physical Fitness Center, was hosted by the Fort Campbell Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Prior to taking to the starting line for the 10K or 5K course, many participants gathered under a tent to write on race bibs to whom they were dedicating their runs.
Some wrote they were running to support Soldiers who deployed as part of the War on Terror, while others honored first responders or people who were lost.
Other runners intentionally made the run more difficult for themselves to honor first responders, like Sgt. Guillermo Miralrio, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), who wore a 30-pound weighted vest for the 10K run.
“These guys were climbing stairs in full gear, so what’s a 30-pound vest for 6 miles,” Miralrio said.
In addition to running to commemorate the victims of 9/11, he was completing the run as part of a larger personal project, he said.
“I’m doing this as part of a 100 miler for suicide awareness among Soldiers,” Miralrio said. “So, this ties in perfectly with 9/11, and I wanted to pay my respects to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. It’s been 20 years since the war kicked off and it’s the least I can do to come out here and spend my morning.”
Susannah Faber, Army spouse, said for her the run was a way to pay her respects to those who enlisted to protect the nation.
“I’m doing this to support the Army and all the Soldiers and in remembrance of 9/11,” Faber said.
For her participating in the event also was personal because not only does Faber’s husband serve, two of her children do as well.
“They put their lives on the line right in the thick of the war,” she said.
Harris, who completed the 10K, said while the run was difficult, she thought about the hardships first responders went through on 9/11 and used that as motivation to keep going.
“When I wanted to give up out there on that run I just thought about those firefighters, those policemen and those people trying to get to safety,” Harris said. “And how they didn’t stop because they couldn’t, and that was my motivation to keep going and do it for them.”