Jen Casey, Race Director, welcomed over 200 runners, a 30% growth over last year, to the second annual edition of the 9/11 Honor Run, held September 15, at F & M Park, in Traverse City. First responders, Fire Department, Police, EMTs who entered the race were the “winners”. They risk their lives every day, so we can live in peace and security.
The 9/11 run was held to honor those who lost their lives in the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks, as well as Local First Responders and Veterans. Proceeds went to the Grand Traverse Region Public Safety Alliance. This brand new non-profit fund was set up to help Local First Responders (Police, Fire, EMS, Emergency Management, 911 Dispatchers and Coast Guard) which will allow for education opportunities, scholarships, recognition, emergency financial support, etc. All Runners, Walkers, Wheelchairs and dogs were welcome. Results can be found at this link; 9/11 2018 Honor Run
The race started at 8:46am, which is the same time the World Trade Center North Tower was hit. Entrants gathered before the race for a moving ceremony by the TC Fire Department to remember and honor those who lost their lives that day and show support to our Local First Responders who risk their lives to keep us safe. Then we showed our spirit with an amazing run! TC firefighters Chris Peron, Nate McKerchie and James Smielewski, led the solemn flag ceremony. Ramona Pleva, Doctor of Chiropractic, sang a moving rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” from a vintage fire truck, in front of a giant flag hanging from a TC Fire Truck. Little Fleet opened early for all race participants, offering a discount off drinks and free soda at the bar to all participants! Live music entertained the crowd. Food trucks, were open early to serve hungry runners. Running Fit of Traverse City gave a $100 Gift Card to the person or company that made the largest donation and a 15% discount to any runner that visited the store with their race bib! Prizes were awarded to the first three age group and overall fastest runners. Runners included several fire department fire fighters wearing complete fire-fighting gear.
Sponsored by Pure Water Works, Munson Medical Center, Michigan Blood, 7/4 UpNorth Live, 94.3 Fox Music Radio, 101.1 Sports Talk Radio, IAF Local 646, Oryana, Alfie Logo Wear, Blarney Stone Broadcasting, Rotary of TC, 106.7 ESPN, 100.3 WQON, 97.5 KLT, Mydogtag.com, and Westwind Construction, over $6,000 was raised for the Grand Traverse Region Public Safety Alliance. Spencer Schmerheim, from 2BaysDJS, was fully equipped with sound gear, providing exciting music.
My “winner” was not the fastest runner in the race, but he was a real “winner” in the race for life. Tim Newdon, 47, is a firefighter with the Metro Fire Department. Tim runs 50-60 miles each week, mainly for stress relief. But Tim has experienced other valuable benefits from running. Before running, his blood pressure was over 170. Now, Tim’s blood pressure is only 110. Tim’s pulse was 88. Now, his pulse is 52. Tim is combating and beating a family history of heart disease. Most male family members died before age 70 from heart conditions. Tim is well on his way to beating those family genes. Congratulations to our “winner”, Tim Newdon. And thank you for your service.
Pat Parker, Chief of the Metro fire Department, ran the 5K race in full firefighter gear. Deepest respect, Pat, for your accomplishment. I have known Pat many years having been a client of his former freight company and serving with Pat on the board of the area Boy Scouts. We are both proud parents of Eagle Scouts. Pat was joined by Nate Saldanra, also of the Metro Fire Department and also in full gear. Jon Williamson, Public Safety Officer in Grayling, also ran in full gear. Jon also runs triathlons and has experience,. He has run his entire life. Thank you for risking your lives to keep us safe. Jacob Steichen, 33, Ken Funk, 34, and Tyler Vandemark, 34, represented the TC Fire Department. Lt Chris Jackson, Jerry Wojtanowski, and Ty Bajtka drove the big firetrucks on display. Nate Mckerchie, was also in the honor guard. Many more first responders were in the event and many were among the top finishers.
Rhonda Workman, director of the Mesick Mushroom 5K, beat me again across the finish line! Rhonda, I am going to catch you, next time. Rhonda is a veteran. Thank you for your service. She ran today to honor her brother-in-law who was a firefighter. Kristen Moravak ran the 5K to honor her husband, a firefighter for 12 years, who runs but could not attend the race. Kristen was accompanied by her friend, who ran the race, Tom Berg, age 60. Nick Haines, 36, and Kyle Sarber, 29, are with the Peninsula Fire Department. They shared the fact that the entire department is working on a goal of better physical fitness. Shelly Abbring, 62, of TC, ran for her son, Brian, who is in the local Grand Traverse Sherriff Department. Sherry’s cholesterol was as high as 199. Today, with exercise, her cholesterol is down to 146. Her pulse has dropped from 75 to 56. Shelly is a “winner”. Homer Nye and his bride Becky Mang walked the course. More “winners”: Elizabeth Paulson, 77, from Cadillac, runs to see the world. Her friend, Deana Horcher, 58, from Hersey, loves running. Doug Meekhoff, 50, Ray Horton, 25, ran the race and represented sponsor Westwind Construction. Running is their “mental therapy” to help relieve stress.
Volunteers were important to the success of the race. Tony Anderson, helped with late registration. Tony says he is feeling no ill effects from his replaced hip. He has run four marathons this year and is planning his next marathon in Mankato MN, as he approaches running a marathon in every state. Tony is raising funds for Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Find out how you can help at Tony’s website. Congressman Larry Inman helped at registration and passing out water to help honor firefighters. Diane Goss, XC Track coach, and Allison Goss, assistant coach at West Senior High, brought about forty team members to help with the race. The team acted as course marshals and helped with registration. Among the XC team members were Carter Dean, Audrey Braurd, Claire Wells, Abbi Klco, Kate Eveleigh, Abby Hunter, Elliott Smith, and Margret Church.
Jen Casey, Race Director, hopes you will join her for next year’s 9/11 Honor Run. You will enjoy the effort and you will honor the first responders who help make your life safe. Remember to discuss with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Your author, Mickey Fivenson, age 76, of Traverse City, has lost over 100 pounds and trained over 150,000 miles in 48 years of running. He has completed over 60 marathons (3:01 PR) and holds one marathon world record with his sons, Zack and Adam. Mickey is the former director of the National Cherry Festival Runs. Mickey’s doctors credit running toward surviving several strokes. He is an Advanced Scuba Diver and credits his running fitness and his scuba skills with surviving a fall through the ice in over 600’ of water in middle of West Bay,,,,,, and saving his dog! He plays blues harmonica globally and with area bands. If you’d like Mickey to cover your race, if you need training tips, email mickey at telecomclassifiedads dot com. Mickey finished first in his age group.