At 6:46 a.m. Tuesday, more than 600 people ran up and down the stairs at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium. But it won’t be a drill at an early morning football practice.
The 2,071 stadium steps will represent the 110 floors of each of the World Trade Center towers.
The participants were up before sunrise and running in memory of the victims of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The 56-minute challenge was part of the fourth annual 9/11 Memorial Run event, organized by UC’s Veterans Programs and Services office, or VPS, and Army and Air Force ROTC detachments. The event honors the more than 400 first responders and nearly 3,000 civilians who died 17 years ago.
“There’s a lot of military in my family, 9/11 means a lot to me,” said one of the participants, George Patil, a UC freshman. “My dad served as an infantry man in Iraq from 2006 to 2013. When he was first deployed, I was six. It took quite a toll on myself.”
“The day of Sept. 11, 2001, should never be forgotten,” Terence Harrison, UC’s Veterans Programs and Services program manager and an Iraq War combat veteran said. “We would like the region to know that our school will never take their sacrifice lightly.”
The runners took breaks and observed moments of silence for when the second airplane struck the South Tower; the crashes of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania and Flight 77 into the Pentagon; and when the FAA grounded all flights over the continental U.S.
The event is free but $10 donations were requested and will go toward an emergency relief fund for veteran students. UC has more than 2,400 military-affiliated students, including veterans, those serving on active duty, in the National Guard and Army Reserves, according to the university.