Final Heroes Run held at TN Riverpark to honor Fallen Five
Four years ago, a terror attack on the U.S. Navy Operational Support Center rocked Chattanooga and took the lives of five servicemen.
Every year since, the Heroes Run has honored their memories. This year, 950 people pounded the sweltering pavement for the annual race.
But Christian Orth, race organizer and Erlanger business development manager, says this year's race is the last.
“This is the last Chattanooga Heroes Run that we're going to have,” he said. “The memorial is going to be opening up here in September or October, so this is going to be the last one."
Orth calls it bittersweet, because the end of the Heroes Run means the beginning of a new chapter, starting with finishing the fundraising for a memorial honoring the lives of the five servicemen killed in the 2015 terror attack.
“It’s going to be a great place for people to go and reflect and just appreciate our military and what they mean to our country,” he said.
For runners like Adam Veron, this year's first place finisher, the run is about more than five miles. It's about Chattanooga's own Fallen Five.
READ MORE | Our Fallen Five
“I’m born and raised in Chattanooga,” Veron said. “So to see this many people come out and race in honor of our fallen heroes, it just tells me how special this city is."
It's Veron's third year at the heroes run. He says he remembers hearing about the terror attack while at work, and the impact it left behind.
“You hear about these tragedies, but you never think it’s going to happen to your home town,” he said. “I think we were all feeling sort of helpless. So to be able to come out and race in their honor just makes it really unique."
With the finish line cleared for a final time, and the goal met, Orth says the purpose lives on.
“We have rallied and we continue to rally around these families and the purpose of building the memorial,” he said.
Orth says over the years the run had raised about $50,000 for the “Wreath of Honor” memorial. It’s set to be completed in the fall.