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WATCH: Tens Of Thousands Honor 9/11 First Responders In Annual Tunnel To Towers Run

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Tens of thousands of participants retraced the steps of a hero who lost his life on 9/11.

The annual 5K Tunnel To Towers Run follows the route FDNY firefighter Stephen Siller took from his firehouse in Park Slope, Brooklyn to the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.

Former  New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has started the race since it began to honor those lost on 9/11.

"I look forward to it every year," Giuliani told CBS 2's Dana Tyler before the start of this year's run.

WATCH: Part One Of CBS 2 Special Coverage Of Tunnel To Towers Run

WCBS 880's Monica Miller reports


Siller ran through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel in all his gear because bridges and tunnels were shut down to vehicles in the hours and days following the terror attacks.

WATCHPart Two Of CBS 2 Special Coverage Of Tunnel To Towers Run

"Well, Janine sent me a text last week did I want to do a race with a bunch of firemen. Of course! Who doesn't want to run with firemen?" one participant told WCBS 880's Monica Miller.

Laurie of Newtown, Conn. said she also wanted to join 25,000 other participants to remember her cousin firefighter Mark Wifford who died in Tower Two.

"I'm OK now but I think when I see his banner coming out of the tunnel, I think that's going to be hard," she told Miller.

WCBS 880's Peter Haskell reports


Another participant said she ran in honor of her father who is a retired firefighter.

"For me as a kid growing up, it was just his job. He didn't come home and talk about it so I don't know what he really did," Allison De Roin told Miller.

1010 WINS' Sally Ann Mosey reports


The Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation has also established a national run so people from across the country can honor the 343 first-responders who died on 9/11.

"We never in our wildest dreams thought that were going to do any of this kind of stuff. But we're on a mission to honor our brother's sacrifice and make sure we never forget," the run's organizer Frank Siller told WCBS 880's Peter Haskell.

"To date, we've raised $16.3 million," Siller told Haskell.

Much of the money goes towards to the construction of so-called 'smart homes' for wounded veterans. The homes are built in conjunction with the Gary Sinise Foundation.

"Each one of them probably costs somewhere, depending on where it is, in the range of $500,000 each," Siller told Haskell.

The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel was closed in  both directions until 1 p.m. to accommodate the race.

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