Nippert Stadium (copy)

The University of Cincinnati is set to hold its 6th annual 9/11 Memorial Run at Nippert Stadium on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. 

The University of Cincinnati (UC) will honor the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by hosting the 6th annual 9/11 Memorial Run at Nippert Stadium. 

The event, put on by UC’s Veterans Programs and Services with the support of the Office of Student affairs, Army ROTC, Air Force ROTC, UMCS, the Mason Lodge of Hamilton Lafayette and Veterans Affairs, is set to begin at 6:46 a.m. and last until 7:42 a.m. on Friday.

Cincinnatians and the campus community are challenged to climb 2,071 stairs at Nippert Stadium – steps comparable to that of the 110 floors in the north tower of the World Trade Center that survivors would have had to evacuate from.

The stair run will last 56 minutes – a time frame symbolic of the duration of time that civilians and first responders had to evacuate the south tower before its inevitable collapse.

The timeline is not exact to what it was on Sept. 11, 2001, as the event is held two hours before the first plane hit the north tower. 

A script will be read while participants are running the stairs of Nippert to symbolize the tragic events of the day, according to Abigail Duncan, program coordinator for Veterans Programs and Services.

“We remember the importance of the event and the lives lost,” Duncan said. “The stair run acts as a memorial for Sept. 11, 2001, and all the lives lost that day.” 

“Some 18 and 19-year-old students weren't alive when 9/11 happened, '' Duncan said. “This is history to them.” 

The stair run is an opportunity for these students to understand and remember what happened that day, according to Duncan.

The memorial stair run started in 2015 to remember 9/11 and raise scholarship money to student veterans who may need it. 

“They decided we would strive to complete 2,071 steps – the amount of stairs in the first tower, '' said Duncan. “We have stuck with it.”

Over the past years, the event has changed and adapted. After the first year, crosses were added on the field with the uniforms and firefighters to commemorate the lives lost. 

A walking path was added in 2016 on the turf to make the event more accessible for the community. 

“We ask them to try to walk for 56 minutes, '' said Duncan. “We have had people in the past unable to run just come and cheer people on.”

There are new additions to the event this year, including a piece of the Pentagon and a hotrod car that will sit on Carson field – the field of Nippert Stadium. The car is painted to honor first responders.

During the event there will be a scrolling tab of names presented on the scoreboard of all the lives lost 20 years before, in the collapse of the World Trade Center. 

The Hamilton County Police Association Honor Guard is expected to play their rendition of “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes.

April Culbreath will play the taiko drums as participants walk in and out of the event, to signify a beating heart.

And seven trumpet players of the UC band will also be present to play “taps” at the end of the event.

“The UC band plays taps so we can take a moment to remember all the lives lost,” said Duncan.

Not only does the stair run serve to commemorate and remember what happened in 2001, but also to raise funds. Donations from the event go toward an emergency scholarship fund for student veterans. This emergency fund is designed to assist student veterans facing financial hardship.

The Cincinnati-Lafayette Lodge 483 will also be present at the event to sell Military Challenge Coins for $20 each. Proceeds from the coins will go to charities that help and support first responders.

T-shirts are available for participants for the requested donation of $10. Shirts from previous years come at the requested donation of $5.

While the event will adhere to UC’s current COVID-19 guidelines and will not require masks, there will be optional masks and rubber gloves available for participants at the registration table.

The 9/11 Memorial stair run is a free event and is open to the public. Registration begins at 5:30 a.m. and free parking is available to the first 200 people registered.