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The inspirational story behind the Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk

The tragic events that took place in New York City on September 11 2001 remain a poignant memory for many around the world, but one man’s story was a true inspiration for a Cardiff firefighter.

On September 11 2001, F.D.N.Y Firefighter Stephen Gerard Siller was off duty and on his way to play golf with his brother when he heard the news of a plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center over his scanner. Immediately abandoning his plans, Stephen drove to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, which was closed for security purposes and as a result strapped 60lbs of equipment on his back and ran on foot to the Twin Towers to assist his emergency services colleagues.

Stephen made the ultimate sacrifice and tragically lost his life during the events of that day. As a result of his heroics and admirable bravery, his family established The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which honours the sacrifice Stephen made and also military personnel, emergency services and first responders. A run/walk is now held annually in New York to honour the final steps that Stephen took and is widely recognised as one of the top 5k runs in America.

Inspired by Stephen’s story and the fundraising efforts made by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation in the United States, Cardiff Central Firefighter Kevin Summerhayes made it his mission to bring the 5k run/walk across the pond.

He said: ‘As a team it will be a privilege and an honour to see the race on Welsh soil for a second time. The sheer selflessness demonstrated by first responders, including off-duty firefighter Stephen Siller himself, should never be forgotten and this is a way for us to show our appreciation for the dedication and commitment of all our emergency services.’

This cross is made from steel from the World Trade Centre

In 2018 over 400 people took part and over £12,000 was raised. The aim this year is to see a significant increase on both of those figures. All monies raised will go directly to The Firefighter’s Charity and The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

Now in its second year, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation 5k Run/Walk Wales will take place on Sunday 22nd of September 2019 in Cardiff Bay and is proudly sponsored by Fordthorne and Volvo Cars Cardiff. A full morning of entertainment is planned for all the family to enjoy, with a DJ to keep the crowds entertained before and after the start. Open to all ages, the charity run/walk is held in conjunction with a unique event as South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, South Wales Police and the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust host their very first 999 Weekend at Cardiff Bay.

Find full details of the event and register to take part here: https://www.cardifftunnel2towers.com/register