Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My 9-11 Run

My parents' generation will always remember where they were and what they were doing when Kennedy was shot.  For us, it's 9-11.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was just 27 years old,  hadn't even met my husband yet, working for Miller Brewing Company. I was in the middle of an early sales meeting with one of my distributors in Galesburg, IL when the receptionist burst in and yelled, "Turn on the TV!" We sat in shock watching the replays of the first tower crash, and then watched live the hit of the second tower. Like most Americans, I was absolutely stunned to the core. I will never understand the pure evil that resides in this world - many who hide under a "religion". There is no cause worth that amount of innocent destruction. Sometimes, I find myself feeling so naive in my wishful illusions of PEACE amongst countries, communities... shoot, even families.

As always when the world confuses me, I turn to running. I find inner peace and solitude through beating the streets with my sneakers. It helps to lessen the pain and sorrow, if even for an hour. As I remember back on 9-11, the magnitude of it all makes me feel weak, and yet I reach for inner strength as I lace up and hit the road...

Today I ran for Robert Dismas McMahon. Why him? I scrolled the 9-11 Memorial list, wanting to run for an individual rather than the masses. I scrolled to the spot in the list where my last name would be and there was Robert. So I ran to honor him today. I found myself wondering more about his life details as I ran, so I put the internet search engines to work to find a nice writeup. He was a NY Firefighter who perished in the World Trade Center, leaving behind his wife Julie, son Matthew and another unborn child at the time.

This was the route I ran today... creative mapping to spell out the date of significance. My total mileage ended at 7.67 miles. It was overcast when I left the house, but by time I started running, the bright sun had made its presence. Man, it was hot and I was kinda miserable. But every time I complained, I tried to counter it...

I'm so hot. And yet it must have been even hotter for those firefighter in full gear, running into the tower in an attempt to save people...

These hills are hard. And yet the elevation the firefighters climbed going up the stairwells to help people out and bring order to tragic chaos...

It's so humid, I can't breathe. And yet how devastating it must of been for those people stuck in the fire and smoke inside the towers... how difficult it was for them to breathe, the oxygen slowly disappearing from the air...

I'm so thirsty. And yet how dusty and unbreathable was the air as the towers collapsed and crumbled to the ground...

My feet hurt. And yet the pain that must still burn inside the families of the 3000+ victims from the 9-11 terror attack. Today, I pray for you.

And so, I kept on running...

I run because I can. 
When I get tired, 
I remember those who can't. 
What they would give to have 
this gift I take for granted. 
And so I run harder for them. 
I know they would do the same for me.

God Bless America!


  1. this is fantastic Jess, what a great and creative way to run for remembrance. I hope somehow his family stumbles across your blog to see Robert is not forgotten

  2. You are such an amazing person, Jess. I wish I would have gotten to know you better when I was still in p-town. You are an absolute inspiration.

  3. Love this post!

    Today I ran for Sandra Bradshaw.

  4. Great idea, I am going to follow on this.

    1. I ran for Margaret Ruth Echtermann.

      I'm really glad that I read your blog and did this, Jess, thanks!

  5. Great post and awesome run. Seriously. This is awesome.

  6. This is beautiful, wonderful, and awesome. You rock.

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  8. This was a great idea. I may borrow it next year.

  9. I love the creativity that went into your route! I ran 2977 seconds (49 minutes, 37 seconds) for the victims. It was HOT and HUMIND but I had many of the same thoughts as you. I love the idea of personalizing it.

    Great shoes!!

  10. Love this! What a great way to remember those who were lost. =) And I love the last part!

  11. Thank you Jess! You have inspired me!!

  12. I love the idea of running for someone that lost their life in the attacks:) Great idea Jess!

  13. The best tribute I've read today. What an awesome idea!

  14. This is fantastic. By far the best tribute I've read today and the effort you put into it is impressive. Nice job today!

  15. What a wonderfully inventive and fun way to remember. From running for a specific person to your route, love it all!


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