Weekly Feature



2016-08-17 / Lifestyles

Tunnel to Towers 5K comes to Buffalo


A group of firefighters step off at the start of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K Run/Walk. With this being the 15th anniversary of 9/11, this will be the first time the race will be held in Buffalo. A group of firefighters step off at the start of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K Run/Walk. With this being the 15th anniversary of 9/11, this will be the first time the race will be held in Buffalo. It has been 15 years since the tragic and horrifying events of Sept. 11, 2001, a day where thousands of innocent people died. This includes Stephen Siller, an off-duty New York City firefighter who lost his life when he joined the rescue efforts.

The Siller family started the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation to honor him, along with the many other first responders. They have hosted the “Tunnel to Towers 5K Run/Walk” every year in New York City, and on the 15th anniversary, it will make its inaugural appearance in Buffalo.

This event will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, along the Buffalo waterfront with the starting line on South Park Avenue, which is behind the First Niagara Center.


Runners receive applause as they pass the Brooklyn battery tunnel in New York City. The race in Buffalo will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, along the Buffalo waterfront at Canalside. Runners receive applause as they pass the Brooklyn battery tunnel in New York City. The race in Buffalo will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, along the Buffalo waterfront at Canalside. This is one of 29 events across the country for the foundation, and local race director Brian Guy is glad to bring it to Western New York.

“I heard about the event eight or nine years ago, and it was something I always wanted to do in New

York City,” Guy said. “I was finally able to do it on the 10th anniversary back in 2011. I thought it was amazing and knew that this was something we needed to bring to Buffalo.”

Even though Buffalo wasn’t originally on the radar to host this event years ago, now it is front and center.

“It is a family-run event, and they tried to do so many things that they couldn’t expand the race right away,” Guy said. “With this being the 15th anniversary, they were looking to branch out, so Buffalo was near the top of the list.”


Stephen Siller was an off-duty firefighter who gave up his life to help others. He died on Sept. 11, 2001, at the age of 34. His family started the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation to honor him. 
Photos courtesy tunnel2towers.org Stephen Siller was an off-duty firefighter who gave up his life to help others. He died on Sept. 11, 2001, at the age of 34. His family started the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation to honor him. Photos courtesy tunnel2towers.org Registration is $25 for adults, $15 for ages 13-17, and free to children 12 and younger. Registration on race day bumps up to $30 for adults and $20 for youths. There will be a post-race party, with food and refreshments in the plaza of the First Niagara Center.

There will be a number of prizes awarded. The top three female and male runners will get awards along with the top runner in each designated age group. Awards will be presented to the fastest Fire Service Team, Police Team, EMS Team and Military Team. A special award called “The Siller Cup” will also be given out to the fire department with the most registered members in the race.

The goal is to get at least 500 participants, according to Guy, but the event is about more than donating money to the cause.

“Obviously we want to raise as much money as possible, but the other part of this is awareness,” he said. “This is the 15th anniversary, so having a big participation in this is really key.”

All of the funds will go toward helping first responders by building smart or specialized homes for the catastrophically wounded veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Guy also mentioned how the event plans on honoring all first responders who lost their lives.

“We are having signs made up for each one of the first responders killed,” he said. “As the runners go on the route, they will be passing all of these people. It will be very emotional when you see all of the people who were killed either on that day or because of that day.”

This is an event Guy wants to continue for years to come. He credited cities such as Savannah, Georgia, and London, England, for being extremely helpful in getting people involved. Other cities that have hosted the event include Charlotte, North Carolina, and Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Rochester also continues to host the event, and the 5K there will take place one week later on Sept. 17.

To register or find out more information about the event, visit www.t2trun.org. For more information on the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, go to www.tunnel2towers.org or the Tunnel to Towers Foundation Facebook page.

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