Firefighters to undertake 9/11 challenge to honour New York colleagues

By Karen Darley York Press

A group of North Yorkshire firefighters is aiming to complete a world record endurance run to honour colleagues who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks.

Station managers Andy Blades and Mark Naylor, along with firefighter Terence Gregg and watch manager Justin Rowe, are to run to all 252 firehouses in New York City, covering about 220 miles in seven days.

The team will be supporting the Stephen Siller Foundation – set up in memory of the Brooklyn fire fighter who died during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center– and the Fire Fighters Charity.

Justin, who is based in Malton, came up with the idea after the four had completed a number of other charity challenges including running from London to York in aid of Help for Heroes.

He said: “We will start at the Stephen Siller Foundation headquarters on Staten Island and after running to all the firehouses, we will lay a wreath at the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero on behalf on North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.”

Justin said the team would then take part in the annual 5-km Tunnel to Tower Run in honour of Stephen Siller.

“Stephen was prohibited from entering the Brooklyn Tunnel in his truck so he raced on foot towards the site with 60 lbs of gear strapped to his back and was last seen looking for his squad – all of whom perished,” he said.

“The Tunnel to Towers Run retraces Stephen’s footsteps on that fateful day.”

Justin said that the foundation set up to honour Stephen supported children who had lost parents and firefighters and military personnel who had been seriously injured in the line of duty.

He said the team had spent the last few months confirming the plans and logistics and were now ready to start training and fundraising for the run, which will start on September 21 next year.

He said: “We are all long-distance runners, but this will be completely different as we will be running in America and through the city streets.

“A training programme has been put together which we will be starting next week and will continue through until next August. It is going to be an awesome experience and we can’t wait to get out there.”

To find out more about the challenge visit northyorksfire.gov.uk. To sponsor the team go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com.

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