Last year, a contingent of 80 local runners embarked on their first trek to lower Manhattan for the Tunnel To Towers 5K Run through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel toward the World Trade Center site. This year, the United Mavericks, a networking group of local business people that support local charities and causes, are gearing up to surpass that number. Mavericks reps say they’re half way to gathering 1,000 people to run in the event’s 13th year on Sunday, Sept. 28.
The run honors fireman Stephen Siller, who was enjoying a day off planning to play golf before he learned the Twin Towers were hit by two airplanes during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He was one of the 343 firefighters who died when the towers collapsed.
“He was trying to get into the city and left his car, took his gear and ran there,” said Piccola Bussola owner and Maverick Tony Lubrano, who helped organize the local team. “Unfortunately he was a great athlete and got there too soon as the towers were falling.”
Lubrano pointed to the way the funds raised from the run are a testament to philanthropic practices.
“This charity gets a ton of donations and they use the money in some ways to help first responders,” Lubrano said. “But a lot of the money goes to building houses for veterans coming back with lost limbs. These houses are equipped to be operated from an iPad.”
Mavericks President and CEO of Carle Place-based Global Real Estate Services Nick Valastro feels this event showcases the groups message: “when you see something, do something.”
“This run hits the core of [Mavericks] membership,” Valastro. “We’re a group of people who want to give back and want to recognize people who have done things that are selfless and heroic.”
He feels confident the group will reach 1,000.
“We feel pretty confident that we’ll be in or around that number,” Valastro said. “We’ve already reserved 20 buses. Each bus holds 50 people and we have captains who are involved in filling those buses. It’s now a matter of getting everyone from paper to registration.”
To join the Mavericks Run, it costs $100 for adults and $50 under the age of 14. Part of the registration fee benefits the Stephen Siller Foundation. Enlisting includes the Tunnel To Towers Foundation Run Or Walk, event shirt, breakfast, bus transportation and an after party luncheon.
“As far as the number goes, we put it upon ourselves to raise the bar and bring awareness to this worthy cause,” said Valastro.
The group set up three staging areas across Long Island, the most local one in front of Chaminade High School in Mineola (the others are the Blackstone Steakhouse in Melville and the Hotel Indigo in Riverhead). Buses in Mineola will leave at 7:15 a.m. Chaminade is lending the Mavericks its athletic facility for an after-run luncheon.
For more information about the run, visit http://bit.ly/1qke4DY