Smiths Station to Host 9/11 Heroes Run

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BY KENDYL HOLLINGSWORTH
KENDYLH@
OPELIKAOBSERVER.COM

SMITHS STATION —

After two years of virtual “shadow” events, Smiths Station will remember those lost in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, with its first 9/11 Heroes Run.

The event will begin Saturday, Sept. 10 at 8 a.m. at Smiths Station City Hall.

“As a Spartan leader with the Travis Manion Foundation, I just felt like this year was basically a special year for us to actually have a full-blown event here in Smiths Station,” said A. Lee Rollins, race director for Smiths Station.

Rollins said his background in the military inspired him to get involved with TMF and the 9/11 Heroes Run.

“Being a retired service member, it’s always been a huge thing of mine to kind of be a part of something that’s bigger than just myself when it comes to Sept. 11,” he said. “I just remember having that helpless feeling, getting ready to deploy to the Balkans, when we heard the news of the attacks. I firmly believe that it’s something that we should never forget, because it’s one of the most horrific things in our nation’s history.”

The Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) is a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that seeks to empower veterans, families of “fallen heroes” and rising generations to develop character based on the motto, “If not me, then who?”

According to Rollins, more than 75 communities across the globe will host their own 9/11 Heroes Runs through TMF, and another 110-plus will host virtual events.

“For Smiths Station to have the opportunity to host this run is really … something special because we’re actually one of the smallest locations across the country, but in the last few years we’ve averaged over 100 participants,” he said. “It’s an amazing event, and it’s open to everybody.”

All who participate will be able to dedicate their race to a fallen hero.

Participants will be able to run, walk or ruck in the 9/11 Heroes Run. Events include a mile run, a 5K and a “GORUCK” 5K. The top three finishers in each age group will be awarded medals, and those in the GORUCK division — using a weighted backpack — who complete the 5K will also earn a TMF 9/11 GORUCK patch.

“This year it’s going to be a hybrid race,” Rollins said. “We’re going to be running on a portion of a running trail and the high school cross country course.”

Prices vary for each event, ranging from $25 to $40, but those who are active-duty military, veterans, first responders or law enforcement will receive discounts. Registrants may also use the codes “GORUCK15” to receive 15% off in the GORUCK division and “BTS15” for a 15% discount in other events.

Online registration will close Sept. 9, but day-of registration will be open onsite Sept. 10. The 9/11 Heroes Run is rain or shine, but it will not happen in the event of lightning.

For more information, or to register, visit 911heroesrun.org/smithsstation.

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