Remember September 11th By David Monti (c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved September 11, 2007
a New Yorker, the attacks of Sept. 11 remain strong within my memory.
It was a lovely late summer day, with the sun shining brightly. I was
at my desk working early in the morning when I received a telephone
call from my wife's mother, telling us to turn on the television.
image of smoke billowing out of the World Trade Center didn't seem so
ominous at first glance. The towers were so huge, and the trail of
smoke so narrow. I remember saying to my wife, Jane, how terrible it
was that some pilot lost control of his small plane and hit the tower.
When we saw the second plane hit, we realized that something terrible
was happening. I turned to Jane and said, "get dressed."
rest of the day was a blur of fear and tears as the unthinkable was
happening in our city. We spent most of the day at a blood center
trying to donate blood, but there were too many of us. After hours of
waiting, we were told to go home. That feeling of helplessness still
haunts me today. I was unable to do anything to stop this madness.
a small way, I was able to do something less than two months later. In
my role with the New York Road Runners, I helped to organize the 32nd
New York City Marathon, and we hosted the USA Marathon Championships.
It was only my first year working on the marathon. On race day, as we
rode to the start on special busses reserved for the elite athletes, we
could see the smoke rising from Ground Zero as we drove over the
Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. My sense of mission was heightened: staging
this race would honor the victims of the attacks and would demonstrate
to the rest of the world that New Yorkers were resilient. Life here
would go on, despite the pain and sadness.
The marathon was a
huge success. Tesfaye Jifar broke the men's course record which still
stands (2:07:43). Scott Larson and Deena Drossin (now Kastor) won the
USA titles (it was Kastor's marathon debut), and Margaret Okayo won the
women's race in a then event record of 2:24:21. 23,664 intrepid
runners finished the race. They saw the real New York: millions lining
the streets to urge them to do their very best.
six years later, life here seems as it was before: busy, busy, busy.
However, Ground Zero remains a big hole in the ground, emblematic of
the hole left in our hearts by the death of 2,973 people in the
combined attacks. We will never forget that day, nor those whom we