I only heard about the 9/11 Heroes Run on Mercer Island a couple of weeks before it took place on Sept. 14. But I decided right away to put it on my calendar, because of the cause it benefitted.
This race is part of a national series in multiple cities to raise money for families of soldiers killed in military action. Proceeds benefit the Travis Manion Foundation, named in honor of a brave Marine killed in combat in Iraq in 2007.
Proceeds from at least the Seattle-area run also benefitted the Team Jesse Foundation, named after Staff Sgt. Jesse Williams, who also died courageously in Iraq in 2007. I became familiar with the Team Jesse Foundation through work I do for the Microsoft Alumni Foundation — Matt Sauri, an MSAF sponsor, and his friend Kevin Mincio rode bicycles across the United States in 2011 to raise money for the Team Jesse Foundation.
Mincio, who now lives on Mercer Island, served alongside Jesse Williams in Iraq, and agreed to look after Williams’ young daughter and family should he not return to the U.S. alive. Mincio has an incredible story about being a vice president at Goldman Sachs in New York near the World Trade Center when the 9/11 attacks occurred. Outraged, he quit his Wall Street job and joined the Army.
Sauri, the CEO of Wimmer Solutions, helped Mincio get situated in the Seattle area’s tech industry after he completed his military service. They have become good friends (both are also passionate about the sport of lacrosse), and Matt has supported Kevin’s commitment to aid families of fallen soldiers.
Getting to know these two and chronicling their bicycle ride across the country has been a great experience for me, and I wanted to make sure I did this run to show my support for them and the cause they continue to champion.
Slow, gingerly run
As for the race itself, held at Luther Burbank Park, I finished near the tail end of 192 runners (there were walkers who did it untimed) in 40:33.7 (13:05 per mile). I ran very carefully, because the course went from gravel to pavement to grass to pavement to gravel — I actually feared twisting my bad ankle on the grassy areas. The fact that I ran my third-fastest out of six 5Ks this year, and came out of it unhurt, was good enough. (For full results, visit this page and click the link to 9/11 Heroes Run.)
The cause was more important. And it was cool to see both Kevin and Matt at the race, as both did a lot of work to organize the event. Kevin served as race announcer and called my name as I crossed the finish line, and Matt greeted all runners as they finished; it was nice to high-five him as I finished. Both gave moving talks before the run about the people who fight for our freedom, and what it means to their families when they are killed.
To my knowledge, this was the second year this race has been held in the Seattle area. I am hoping that word gets out about it, so more people sign up for next year’s race.
Next up: I am doing the Harvest Century bicycle ride, 45-mile route, on Sept. 29 in Washington County wine and farming country, just west of Portland. It will be my fifth and last organized ride for 2013. After that, I have several 5Ks I’d like to do, plus the Seattle Half Marathon (walk/run).
Thanks for reading. Till next time.