Southern Pines CrossFit held a 9/11 active memorial stair climb event Sept. 11 and by 10 a.m. had over 50 participants with more arriving.
The event commemorated the 343 New York firefighters who perished as heroes during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks by an Islamist terrorist group against America.
Aberdeen firefighters Matt Horner and Zac Sharpe and Southern Pines firefighter Nash Neptune participate Sept. 11 in Southern Pines CrossFit 9/11 active memorial stair climb.
Owner Sarah Ellman said last year there were 150 participants, and this is only their second year.
Large tires, wooden platforms, and plastic step forms filled the parking lot, and refreshments were served under canopies.
9/11 active memorial stair climb participants ‘sweat out’ the 1,980 steps Sept. 11 in remembrance of the 110 stories emergency persons stormed to save lives.
The parking lot and surrounding area drummed to the beats of hip-hop as Master of Ceremonies (MC) Carey Duval announced departure times for each run.
Duval is the 2016 Working Wounded Games Upper Limb Division Champ. He lost his right arm in Afghanistan while serving in the U.S. Army. He instructs yoga at the Southern Pines CrossFit.
Southern Pines CrossFit participants work on steps in 9/11 active memorial stair climb Sept. 11, 2020.
As the participants sweated in the stair climb under the hot late summer sky, Duval narrated Stephen Gerard Siller’s story, Tunnel to Tower.
Siller drove to the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but it had already been closed for security. Determined to carry out his duty, he strapped on 60 pounds of gear and raced through the tunnel to the Twin Towers, where he gave up his life while saving others.
Aberdeen firefighters Matt Horner and Zac Sharpe and Southern Pines firefighter Nash Neptune put on 60 pounds of gear for Sept. 11 in Southern Pines CrossFit 9/11 active memorial stair climb.
Siller is one of the nearly 3,000 Americans who lost their lives, and why participants chose to commemorate the 9/11 tragedy with sweat, for some – tears, and for Jessica Neely – inspiration.
Neely took a break on Broad Street during her 6th run in the 1.4-mile course from CrossFit to the Southern Pines Fire Department.
“My husband was Naval during 9/11, and afterward I was a stewardess,” Neely said. “I am coming back this afternoon at 5 p.m. and bringing my children to run.”
Southern Pines CrossFit participant Jessica Neely stops for a quick break during her sixth run of the 1.4 mile 9/11 remembrance run on Sept. 11, 2020.
Neely has a set of 7-year-old twins and an 11-year-old.
Strong Soul partnered with CrossFit to raise funds to benefit Moore County Fire Departments and Rescue Squads. General admission was $40, shirts $25, childcare $5 and donation options were available at their venue tent.
Participants line up to purchase donation items and register Sept. 11 for the CrossFit 9/11 active memorial stair climb.
The event began at 6 a.m. and ended at 6 p.m.
Article, photos, and videos by Sandhills Sentinel Journalism Intern Stephanie M. Sellers.