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Tunnel to Towers 5K for Stephen Siller Foundation an emotional day

August 12, 2019

A total of 222 runners and walkers participated in the second annual Tunnel to Towers 5K Aug. 10 at Cape Henlopen High School. The Cape race is one of 50 nationwide to raise funds for the Stephen Siller Foundation. 

According to the foundation website, “On Sept. 11, 2001, Stephen, who was assigned to Brooklyn’s Squad 1, had just finished his shift and was on his way to play golf with his brothers when he got word over his scanner of a plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Upon hearing the news, Stephen called his wife Sally and asked her to tell his brothers he would catch up with them later. He returned to Squad 1 to get his gear. Stephen drove his truck to the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but it had already been closed for security purposes. Determined to carry out his duty, he strapped 60 pounds of gear to his back and raced on foot through the tunnel to the Twin Towers, where he gave up his life while saving others.”

The overall race was won by James Ptack, 17, of Dunellen, N.J., who held off Martin Rodriguez, 37, to win by a single second, 17:28 to 17:29. 

Jennifer Riehm Schwomeyer, 40, a Cape graduate and physical therapist, was the women’s winner and ninth overall in 21:45. Kelsey and Alexis Oliphant were second and third in 22:39. 

Mike Sewell won the male masters race in 19:27, while Kim Geyer was first female masters in 24:18. 

A total of 10 firemen ran in full gear, a couple complete with oxygen masks.  

Age-group winners for men: 13-and-under, Tyler Whitford, 23:10; 14-19, Jakob Hayes, 21:27; 20-29, Mark Colabucci, 21:08; 30-39, Martin Rodriguez, 17:29; 40-49, Derek Dean, 22:15; 50-59, Chris Stanley, 20:15; 60-69, Robert Fitzgerald, 23:37; 70-and-over, Jules Woodall, 25:28. 

Age-group female winners: 13-and-under, Emma Thompson, 33:46; 14-19, Mary Megott, 24:04; 20-29, Kelsey Oliphant, 22:39; 30-39, Abigail Eldredge, 24:40; 40-49, Jen Perry, 24:32; 50-59, Cece Cardano, 26:09; 60-69, Nina Smeltzer, 25:24; 70-and-over, Joanne Szcepkowski, 27:35.