The Travis Manion Foundation’s annual 9/11 Heroes 5k race, Ruck and 1-mile Fun Run kicks off in downtown Marshall this Saturday, to remember those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America and honor the veterans, military, and first responders who continue to serve the nation and communities.
Last year’s event drew dozens of veterans, civilians and first responders to the day of remembrance, hosted at Telegraph Park. Marshall race director and TMF ambassador, Travis Keeney, said they’re anticipating a great turnout this year, too.
“We have a lot coming from Shreveport this year and then all over East Texas — from Mount Pleasant, Texarkana, down to Carthage and then over towards Tyler,” said Keeney, who is also a veteran.
The race will begin at 9 a.m. Onsite registration begins at 8 a.m. Pre-race festivities will kick off at 8:30 a.m. and continue until the race begins.
“It’ll be a ceremony that recognizes the event and what it means to the community,” Keeney said of pre-race festivities, “and there will also be some ceremony remembering events that happened on 9/11 in 2001, and recognition of our own first responders and veterans.”
If the weather cooperates, they’ll have a ceremonial fly-in of the Commemorative Air Force Lone Star Wing’s PT-17 Boeing Stearman.
“It’s just a really a tight-knit community event to remember and recognize,” Keeney said, inviting all to come. “It will kick off the race, the fun run, and ruck.”
The foundation is named after US Marine 1st Lt. Travis Manion, who was killed by an enemy sniper on April 29, 2007, in Iraq as he selflessly pulled wounded members of his battalion to safety, following an ambush.
“He was a friend of mine,” said Keeney. “We graduated the Naval Academy together and both commissioned in the Marine Corps together.”
According to TMF, before his final deployment, Manion visited Rescue One in New York City, which lost almost all its men on 9/11, and returned home with a deeper passion about why he was fighting in Iraq.
Manion’s parents and sister started the 9/11 Heroes Run in his honor, following his death. The first race was held in Manion’s hometown of Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
“It’s the precursor to what we have today and many cities across the country,” said Keeney. “It’s really kind of just remembering that 9/11 event that happened so long ago, but also promoting helping out small towns … remembering first responders.”
The 12th Annual 9/11 Heroes Run national series will be held in more than 90 locations across the country and the world this year. Derrick Morgan said TMF is proud to have Comcast/NBCUniversal as a national sponsor, with additional support from GORUCK.
“During this time of unprecedented division in our country, I am inspired to see so many communities across the country and around the world put their differences aside to unite in honor of all those touched by the events of Sept. 11, 2001,” said Ryan Manion, President of Travis Manion Foundation. “We challenge all Americans to join us to ensure our future generations never forget the sacrifices of our veterans, active duty military, first responders and civilians who were affected by the attacks on 9/11 and in the wars since.”.
Funds raised from the event goes to support first responders, veterans and the nonprofit foundation’s character-building programs, which are geared to empower youth.
“They push for character development and setting young ones up for success and empowering them and inspiring them through these stories of selfless leadership,” said Keeney. “That’s a really cool thing. We’ve seen a lot of great results from the kids.”
Keeney encourages the public to come out and support the cause this Saturday.
“We offer all kinds of ways to participate,” he said. “We’d love to have the community out just to be there and to watch and remember together … join hands together.
“It is a wonderful, fun event,” said Keeney.
Participants may also register at: 911heroesrun.org/marshall.