Blog post submitted by Randy Arant, B-shift captain of Irmo Fire District, husband & father.

"Last year I had the honor and privilege to be able to run in the Tunnel to Towers 5K. It was an extremely humbling experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

A lot of people "don't get" what firefighters, police, military and EMS do and why we answer the calling. A lot of people don't understand the bond that we have with one another. Watching or participating in the Tunnel to Towers 5K offers a glimpse of why we do what we do.

There isn't any other 5K race, besides the Tunnel to Towers 5K that brings in so many public servant and military branches as this race does. The enthusiasm that is shared by all who participate is on a completely different level. The race itself can be very trying at times. The one biggest motivator that I had last year was all of the words of encouragement from so many people that I didn't know.

I found myself several times throughout the race last year wanting to emotionally break down and start crying. It wasn't due to me being in pain because of the run. It was because of all the people that appreciated what we do and they let us know through their words.

I also found myself getting emotional due to the reason why we are even running in the race. Thirteen years ago Stephen Siller, a FDNY firefighter, ran from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center with sixty pounds of gear strapped to his back. He was one of the 343 firefighters killed during 9/11.

I challenge everyone to attend the Tunnel to Towers 5K at least once in your lifetime so you can see what it is all about. Thanks for your time and I hope to see everyone at the race!"

The 2014 Tunnel To Towers 5K Run & Walk South Carolina will take place in the Congaree Vista on Sept. 19 at 7 p.m.  More than 1,000 participants and approximately 1,500 military, including Medal of Honor Recipient Kyle Carpenter, are already registered. Runners will follow a route through the Congaree Vista, Cayce and West Columbia followed by an After Party and exclusive concert by four-time Grammy nominee, Hunter Hayes at the Tin Roof and Music Farm.


Participants may register online until Thursday, Sept. 18 at 6 p.m. Runners can also register on the day of the race at the turnaround of the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center