By Linda Dillman
The 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., will find runners/walkers hauling 25 pound backpacks (rucks) across southeast Franklin County in remembrance of the somber occasion.
Ruck, Run, Remember starts and ends at the Groveport Recreation Center, 7370 Groveport Road, on Sept. 11, following a 20K trek across public roads and parkland beginning at 8:46 a.m., the same time the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center.
Runners are split between two groups—those carrying a rucksack/backpack and those participating unencumbered—along with the opportunity to split the distance between a two-member team.
Athletes running with a pack step off a few minutes after those without, at 9:03 a.m., the time the second plane hit the south tower.
As a result of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, nearly 3,000 people lost their lives. Each race participant will run in honor of one of the individuals who lost their lives that day.
“When our country is faced with terrorism or tragic events, it gives us the opportunity to come together as Americans,” said organizer Marshall Jackson. “We mourn those we have lost, our Brothers in Blue and our military members and loved ones in our communities; but the way we recover as Americans is just as important. Events like Ruck, Run, Remember give us the opportunity to do just that in a positive community setting where we can honor and celebrate together.”
Jackson said a ruck is the military version of a backpack and the reason for carrying one is to gain insight into the lives of soldiers and first responders who often carry as much as 100 pounds of gear into battle and in response to emergencies.
“This is a first-year event. We really wanted to put on a special community event that honored and celebrated the lives of those who were lost in the 9-11 attacks,” said Jackson. “Groveport has such a great support for the military, police and first responders, and we thought it would be appropriate to have them host this event. The Groveport Recreation Center in particular is an awesome location to start/finish a race.”
Runners/ruckers can register the day of the race. In addition, runners with backpacks can drop off their ruck at the 9K (5.6 mile) point and retrieve it at the finish line.
The course will be open for 3 hours and 30 minutes and public roadways will be reopened to traffic on a rolling basis at a pace equal to 16 minutes per mile. Any participant who is unable to maintain this pace will be offered a ride to the finish or asked to move to the side of the road and follow pedestrian laws.
“Because of what happened on 9-11, it forced us into change,” said Jackson. “We had to change the way we think, the way we react and how we respond to threats foreign and domestic. We have amazing capabilities now and extremely professional military, police and civilian capabilities that are second to none. The sacrifice has been high over the last 15 years but we are definitely well prepared to respond to known and unknown threats.”
For information, visit ruckrunremember.org.