The Travis Manion Foundation’s Annual 9/11 Heroes Run, which typically takes place in-person in Mesa, will shift to a virtual event for 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Event planners encourage participants to run on the weekend of Sept. 11 but can actually participate in the run at a date, time and place of their convenience, according to a press release.
The event in Mesa is one of 90 across the country aimed at uniting communities to remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost on 9/11, as well as to honor veterans, military and first responders who dedicate their lives to serving others.
In 2019, Mesa hosted the 9/11 Heroes Run, which has taken place in the community for the past several years but the current pandemic has shifted plans. The virtual runner option allows participants to choose their own date, time, and location where they can approach the 5K at their own pace.
Ensuring the safety and well-being of all participants, volunteers, Spartans and members of the community are a top priority event planners say as TMF has been working closely with local and state officials.
The majority of races across the country have transitioned to virtual participation, with a small number of cities scheduled to still host physical races with designated safety protocols in place, a release states.
The 9/11 Heroes Run 5K series draws inspiration from Marine 1st Lt. Travis Manion, who was killed by an enemy sniper in Iraq in April 2007 as he pulled his wounded teammates to safety.
Before his final deployment, Mr. Manion visited Rescue One in New York City — famous for losing almost all of their men on 9/11 — and returned home with a deeper passion about why he was fighting in Iraq.
At its heart, the 9/11 Heroes Run is a tribute to a personal commitment to never forget the heroes of that day, a release states. The 9/11 Heroes Run will also acknowledge the work of all U.S. frontline healthcare workers, who especially this year, have continued to serve during a time of uncertainty against the novel coronavirus.
For the 2020 race series, Travis Manion Foundation has again partnered with GORUCK for a ruck division of 9/11 Heroes Run. Rucking is moving with weight on your back and is the foundation of Special Forces training.
It combines strength and cardio; is adaptable to anyone’s goals based on the amount of weight carried; and is an activity for those who hate to run or find it boring, a release states.
“While in most communities we may not be able to stand side by side this September, now more than ever I challenge all Americans to join our Spartans as we honor those who stepped up when our country needed them the most following the events of 9/11,” TMF President Ryan Manion said in a prepared statement.
“We’ll also run to honor our frontline workers, who exemplify that same bravery everyday as they risk their lives battling an invisible enemy. The sense of unity displayed in the days following 9/11 and during our current crisis exemplifies the strength of our national character, and inspires us to honor the legacies of those lost, as well as those who still lead the charge.”