When General Motors’ CEO Dan Akerson put out a plea for all Chevrolet dealers to get behind this year’s Travis Manion Foundation 9/11 Heroes Run, Fred Beans Automotive Group was already supporting this annual event. Akerson pledged $250,000 to promote some three dozen 9/11 runs with more than 50,000 participants in the U.S. and around the world for the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, but Fred Beans has been pledging resources for four years as a founding sponsor of the original Doylestown run.
This year more than a dozen Fred Beans employees volunteered at Burpee Park, the staging area for the Sunday afternoon run. They were driving the red Camaro pace car, the Fred Beans courtesy shuttle chase car, helping sign up other volunteers as well as runners, posting themselves at spots along the 5K run route to assist the runners through the streets of Doylestown Borough, and generally being a part of dozens of volunteers and runners for the immense and emotionally rewarding event.
The final tally was 1435 runners: 1332 for the 5K and 103 for the one-mile fun run.
That first 2008 race, pulled together in just a few weeks, drew 250 runners. Since then, the 9/11 Heroes Run has grown into an international event with tens of thousands of runners in more than 35 cities in the U.S. and other countries and dozens of big-name sponsors – including General Motors and top international advertising group JWT.
Burpee Park activities included a special moving presentation under gray skies, led by local young people, honoring local men and women who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also honored were local residents whose lives were lost on 9/11/2001 in Washington, DC, Shanksville, PA and the fall of the Twin Towers in New York City, including emergency personnel.
The Peptones played music to lift spirits, a tractor trailer displayed a piece of I-beam from the fallen towers, and veterans and the Manion family members were on hand to run or to cheer on those who did. Janet Manion, Travis Manion’s mother, and Chris Manion, Travis’s uncle and the founder of the Heroes Run, spoke to the crowd from the balcony of the Fountain House [Starbucks] at State and Main before the 5K kicked off. Radio personality Michael Smerconish, who grew up in Bucks County, also delivered remarks.
The Manion foundation provides Challenge Grants to survivors of fallen American heroes – parents, children, siblings, spouses and battle buddies – to help them accomplish a goal while honoring the memory of the fallen service member and supporting them in the healing process. It provides Mission Continues Fellowships to wounded and disabled vets to support their recovery and their work in a service field or effort. And it further pairs those vets serving the fellowships with families of fallen heroes, helping them to keep alive the spirit of service while they support each other in the healing process. It also challenges young people to develop stronger, more advantageous value systems through its various programs.
To view the moving JWT 9/11 Heroes Run video, click here.
Photos of the event will be posted to Driving Times as they become available, so please check back here often.
In addition, complete results and images from the 2011 Doylestown Heroes Run and photos from races around the country and the world will be posted at the Travis Manion Heroes Run site.