Heroes run

The Nashville Marines carry the Texas state flag during the 2017 9/11 Heroes Run 5K, which benefits the Travis Manion Foundation. This year's run is set for 7 a.m. Saturday at the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives in Athens.

Though more than five weeks away, the organizers behind the annual Athens 9/11 Heroes Run 5K race are seeking participants, according to a press release.

The annual run starts 7 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Alabama Veterans Museum on Pryor Street. Proceeds from the 9/11 Heroes Run will benefit the Travis Manion Foundation, which “empowers veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations.”

Now in its 12th year, the 9/11 Heroes Run national race series will be held in more than 50 locations across the country and around the world. Registration is now open for participants to run, walk, or ruck, and the race series is expected to draw over 60,000 participants worldwide.

“During this time of unprecedented division in our country, I am inspired to see so many communities across the country and around the world put their differences aside to unite in honor of all those touched by the events of Sept. 11, 2001,” said Ryan Manion, president of Travis Manion Foundation. “We challenge all Americans to join us this September, to ensure our future generations never forget the sacrifices of our veterans, active-duty military, first responders and civilians who were affected by the attacks on 9/11 and in the wars since.”

About the event

The 9/11 Heroes Run 5K series was inspired by Marine 1st Lt. Travis Manion, who was killed by an enemy sniper in Iraq in April 2007 as he pulled his wounded teammates to safety. Before his final deployment, Travis visited Rescue One in NYC — famous for losing almost all of their men on 9/11 —and returned home with a deeper passion about why he was fighting in Iraq.

“At its heart, the 9/11 Heroes Run is a tribute to a personal commitment to never forget the heroes of that day,” the release said. “... Travis’ legacy lives on in the words he spoke before leaving for his final deployment, ‘If Not Me, Then Who...’ Guided by this mantra, veterans continue their service, develop strong relationships with their communities and thrive in their post-military lives by serving as character role models to youth.”

The story of Manion and his Naval Academy brother, Lt. (SEAL) Brendan Looney, has been publicized in the book “Brothers Forever.” Additional information about the foundation can be found at www.travismanion.org.

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