Citrus Memorial Health System, Local 4562 Professional Firefighters of Citrus County, and the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, are gearing up for the 5th Annual 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and Fitness Challenge. This year’s event will be held at Citrus Memorial hospital on Sunday, September 14, 2014, with registration beginning at 7:00am.
The event is held each year to honor the 343 firefighters, 60 law enforcement officers, 8 emergency medical technicians and 125 military personnel who perished in the World Trade Center Towers and Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Participants in this grueling fitness challenge are tasked with climbing 110 flights of stairs to symbolize the floors in the World Trade Center Towers. Many firefighters who participate will have the added challenge of completing the climb in full bunker gear and air packs.
“The Professional Firefighters of Citrus County are putting on this athletic challenge to bring awareness to the profession of first responders and firefighters, as well as memorialize those lost on 9/11,” said Driver Engineer Nicholas Faso of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office Fire Rescue Division. “We’re thankful to community members who have participated alongside us in years past and look forward to an even bigger and better event this year as we climb what is essentially a very emotional vertical 5k.”
Members of the community and fitness enthusiasts are encouraged to participate in the climb alongside our local heroes or cheer from the sidelines to motivate participants to keep moving. During the climb, families can enjoy refreshments, fire apparatus displays, health information and a free Kids Firefighter Challenge where children will have the opportunity to compete in an obstacle course and complete their own combat challenge. The Kids Firefighter challenge includes an inflatable obstacle course, firefighter sled and an opportunity for kids to save a victim with the help of a local firefighter. All participants will receive a children’s firefighter helmet, wrist band and event sticker.
Registration for the climb begins at 7:00am and the event starts at 8:00am with a group photo, dedication and prayer, followed by a brief moment of silence. Additional moments of silence will be observed during the event at 8:46am, 9:03am, 9:37am and 10:07am to remember those who lost their lives during the September 11 terrorist attacks.
“There’s no doubt this event is strenuous even for those in peak physical condition,” said Citrus Memorial spokesperson, Katie Mehl. “The event is both physically and emotionally taxing; participants will leave with a renewed admiration for our first responders.”
As they trek up the equivalent of 110 flights, climbers will carry a picture tag of one of the 343 fallen firefighters with them. Water, dry towels and fruit will be available at various intervals and an auxiliary rest area will be located at the mid-point of the climb. Those interested in participating can register online at www.imathlete.com/events/citrusfitnesschallenge for a $35 registration fee which includes a donation to the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation, commemorative t-shirt, wristband, event patch and sticker. Day-of registration will be $45.