Military Student Affairs hosts first virtual 9/11 race

Participants in a past 9-11 run carry flags | Kyle Will

The Travis Manion 9/11 Heroes Run was hosted virtually on Sept. 11 to pay respect to those who died during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Director of Military Student Affairs Bethany Alford said that it is important to still recognize the event during the pandemic.

“We believe that the events of September 11 should be remembered and honored, as well as the many service members and first responders that served as heroes that day and every day since that tragic day,” Alford said.

The event was hosted virtually in an effort to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

However, Alford said race participants will be able to run or walk whenever they feel ready to participate.

Alford added that SVSU was the only place in Michigan to host a Travis Manion 9/11 Heroes Run this year. Talks of complete cancellation were held but ultimately dismissed.

“We opted for the virtual event know- ing that we wouldn’t get as much participation, but we still wanted to have the option for people to participate and show their support for military personnel and first responders,” Alford said.

Jenna Briggs, the senior director of Advanced Studies and International Student Services, helped bring the event to campus. She said it was important to continue the annual tradition.

“For those alive and old enough to re- member 9/11, there is something cathartic about getting together with others to reflect back on where we were when we saw those towers fall, how we felt and how it has impacted our individual lives and collective experiences since,” Briggs said. “For the younger generation, I believe it is important for them to hear those stories, as the reverberations of that day still impact our daily lives here in the United States, and abroad.”

Briggs said one of the mottos for the event is “Run to remember so future generations don’t forget.”

Participants who registered online received a Heroes Run T-shirt and neck gaiter face covering.

We hope participants will still feel a sense of being a part of something larger than themselves as they step-off to run their 5k on 9/11 knowing that thousands across the country are running with them, though we are each running our own course,” Briggs said.

Briggs said she was happy with the continued support of the event over the last six years and being able to host it virtually during the pandemic.

“We wish everyone health and safety and look forward to hopefully welcoming runners back on-campus next year,” Briggs said.

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