LA JOLLA, Calif - August 19, 2002 - As a special tribute to those that lost their lives on September 11, Americans across the country can sign up for memorial runs and walks at www.active.com in support of America. The events, which range from 5K walks, 10K runs, and even team races using canoes and bicycles, take place throughout September.
Working with race organizers, Active.com - the Web registration leader for sports and recreation - has set up a Web section on www.active.com to publicize when, where and how to participate in these memorial races nationwide. Information and sign-up can be accessed at www.active.com/september11 The company is also hosting one of the Sept. 11 race organizers on its Internet radio show, ActiveRadio, scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 11.
Veteran race directors and first-time organizers are staging Sept. 11 races in multiple cities. Adam Spiegelman, a marathoner and employee of Franklin Templeton Investments in San Mateo, Calif., is organizing his first race in memory of his co-workers. The company's New York office, headquartered in Tower Two of the World Trade Center, lost 87 employees on Sept. 11. After the tragedy, the FT Fiduciary Trust Memorial Fund was created for victims' families. Spiegelman wanted to take this one step further by establishing a footrace to benefit the fund. The event, Franklin Templeton Investments Memorial 5K & 10K Run/Walk (www.franklintempleton.com/race), kicks off Sept. 21 at Coyote Point Park in San Mateo. Several of the company's New York employees are participating, including Company President Bill Yun. Online registration closes Sept. 19, 9 a.m. PST.
"This is a wonderful way to bring employees and the community together and get them involved in a very special cause," explained Spiegelman, who has participated in marathons and half-Ironman triathlons but has
never been on the race management side. "It's a real effort putting on an event of this type, with over 1,000 employees and the community involvement, but the rewards completely outweigh the work and time required. We want this to be an annual event."
Mike Steelman, a triathlete who grew up in Lansdale, Pa. and now lives in California, lost a close friend on Sept. 11. Steelman and his friend Noell Maerz were high school buddies, competing in everything from football to triathlons. Steelman got Maerz, a diehard football player, hooked on triathlons and the two battled each other in multiple triathlons on both coasts. Maerz, who worked for Euro Brokers on the 84th floor of the World Trade Center's second tower, was among 60 Euro Brokers employees who lost their lives.
Steelman, friend John Strauss and Maerz' younger brother Erich Maerz organized the 1st Annual Noell Maerz Patriot Games (www.noellmaerz.com) to carry on Noell's legacy. "We wanted to do something to exemplify what Noell was all about . . . all that he thrived for and lived for. We also wanted to establish something that would bring us all home once a year," said Steelman. "It's a big responsibility and there are a lot of details. We know Noell is looking down on us so we want it to be perfect."
The two-person team event, which includes a 1.5 mile canoe, a 14-mile bike and 4-mile run, takes place on Sept. 14 in Peace Valley Park in Doylestown, Pa. All profits will go to the Noell Maerz WTC Foundation and Make-A-Wish-Foundation. Added Steelman, "Our boys are big football players so they wouldn't let me have a swim, bike, run!"
Race Director Jay Jacob Wind, who manages the Vanguard Foundation's National RUN FOR RECOVERY®, is taking the opportunity not only to pay tribute to lives lost but also to honor public safety professionals. The race, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 21, includes a one mile run/walk and a 5K run/walk. The Law Enforcement Challenge, a team event, was added last year.
"The Law Enforcement Challenge is a very meaningful aspect of our race and something we planned prior to Sept. 11, 2001," said Wind, development manager for Vanguard Foundation. "Obviously, this takes on very special meaning this year."
The original race course was changed last year due to Sept. 11 events. The race is now held in downtown Washington DC in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Avenue Mile. "Our original course looped past the
Pentagon. After one of the hijacked planes crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, we never considered canceling our event, but decided that afternoon to postpone it," added Wind.
Held every September since 1996, National RUN FOR RECOVERY® celebrates National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. Proceeds from the race go to Vanguard Foundation, which has provided substance abuse treatment programs for more than 30,000 for the past 40 years. Searching for an alternative course, Vanguard partnered with SummerTime And Reading Together (START), a children's literacy program. START has conducted the Pennsylvania Avenue Mile annually since 1995, and in 2001 added a 5K. START's mile and 5K were also rescheduled, and Vanguard's RUN FOR RECOVERY® (www.vanguardservices.org/entry.html) became the 5K following the mile races.
"Combining the races was a marriage made in race director's heaven. Both races complement each other in terms of the causes they represent," said Wind. "September 11 profoundly affected millions of lives. We as runners wanted to commemorate the victims and honor the people who worked so hard to rescue them."
Any law enforcement or emergency response agency can participate in the Law Enforcement Challenge, with medals to the top 5 officers male/female and trophies to the top 3 three-person teams and the largest team.
Event organizers worldwide use Active.com's services to set up online registration for their events, process registrations, manage their participant data and promote their events through their own Web sites andwww.active.com. With investors such as Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and Brian Maxwell, PowerBar founder and world-class marathoner, Active.com has deep industry ties and tremendous experience in participatory sports and event management. The management team and staff have both participated and managed events, from running and triathlon to adventure racing. For event organizers, working with Active.com gives them the freedom to focus on event logistics rather than endless registration paper trails. Active.com is a property of The Active Network. For more information about The Active Network, visit www.theactivenetwork.com