SVSU will host its sixth annual Heroes Run on Tuesday, Sept. 11, starting with the kids’ “fun run” at 6 p.m., the opening ceremonies at 6:10 p.m. and a 5k at 6:30 p.m.
Registration for the 5k run is $30 per person with discounts for active military or members of a first responder agency. The run will support the Bay Veterans Foundation and the Travis Manion Foundation (TMF).
“The 9/11 Heroes Run unites communities internationally with the goal to never forget the sacrifices of the heroes of September 11 and the wars since,” said Jenna Briggs, the director of Graduate and International Admissions. “Each year on or near September 11, local volunteers who have asked themselves, ‘If not me, then who,’ organize 9/11 Heroes Runs on behalf of TMF in more than 50 cities around the world.”
SVSU began hosting its Heroes Run in 2013, and the race has been an annual event since.
“I was three years out of the Army, and Ted had just returned from Afghanistan a couple months before we decided to host the event,” Briggs said, referring to her husband. “The mission really resonated with us, and there were not any other Heroes Run events in Michigan at that time. We still remain the sole location for the state today.”
This year’s race will kick off with a speech from a guest speaker.
“This year, there will be a speaker from the Bay Veterans Foundation out of Bay City that will speak at the opening ceremonies,” said Bethany Alford, the director of Military Affairs. “The speaker will discuss the Foundation’s mission and how they impact the veteran community.”
Changes to this year’s run include a new rucking division and an additional kids-only event.
“This year, the TMF partnered with GORUCK at the national level, and there will be a rucking division, where competitors wear weighted backpacks,” Briggs said. “We are also separating the free kids’ fun run into two distances. We’ll offer a slightly longer half-mile course for older kids, but keep the 200m distance for the littlest runners.”
For Briggs, the race provides an opportunity to reflect on the past.
He also hopes students will make connections with those who served.
“The race as well as the ceremony that happens before is a great way to reflect on what happened on 9/11 and come together as a community,” Briggs said. “The presence of military members, both active and veterans, helps drive home the sacrifices and service to those that may not have a military connection.”
Alford agreed that the race provides an opportunity for people to show military support.
“Students should participate as a way to show appreciation to our local first responders and military personnel as well as the Travis Manion Foundation,” Alford said. “It’s also a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy the beautiful campus of SVSU.”
Those interested in participating in the SVSU 5K run can register online at svsu.edu/heroesrun until tonight at midnight, or sign up at the site of the race at 5 p.m. Sept. 11.