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Columbia Memorial Stair Climb goes virtual


The fourth annual Columbia Memorial Stair Climb will be a virtual event.

Event Director Tommy Goran said the event is still scheduled for Saturday, April 25, but it will look a bit different this year. Goran and his executive team plan to livestream different parts of the event on Facebook.

 "This isn't a dead end, it's just a speed bump," Goran said. "So we're gonna figure out how to get through it and continue on. We made that promise to never forget. And that's exactly what we're gonna do is just not forget."

The stair climb is held in honor of the 9/11 first responders as well as local first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The event was supposed to take place at Faurot Field.

"We climb 110 stories, and the relevance behind that is because that's how tall the the World Trade Center was. That's how high those guys were willing to climb that day."

This year, Goran is asking participants to get creative with their virtual climbs. There are now three options in order to fulfill the climb, according to Goran. All of them can be done from the comfort of your own home or neighborhood.

  • Option 1: Climb 110 Stories (2,640 steps)
  • Option 2: 1.10 mile run, 110 pushups, 110 sit-ups, 110 air squats, 1.10 mile run. You can break these up any way you’d like, they do not have to be done consecutively.
  •  Option 3: Walk/Run 3.43 miles (343 firefighters were killed on 9/11)

Like in years past, participants will get to hold a card with the name and a picture of a fallen first responder as they complete their workouts. Those cards will be mailed out to each participant before the event.

Operations Director Ryan Adams said he hopes for a big turnout this year since "there's really no excuse not to show up." The executive team is encouraging participants to take videos of their climbs and post them on social media.

"I think that the community is going to really respond well to it," Adams said. "We know people are itching to get out of their houses or do things that are out of the ordinary. Those that have never tried to climb 110 stories - it's a challenge, and it's something good for them to try to do. Just like when you're running, it's just one step at a time."

Adams and Goran are both firefighters with the Columbia Fire Department. They both agree it's important to continue this event despite the concerns surrounding COVID-19.

"We're getting to the point where you know 9/11 is not in the forefront of a lot of young people's minds," Adams said. "This year, the graduating class that will graduate high school this year - those are the ones that came into the world when 9/11 happened."

Goran said there are similarities between 9/11 and our current reality as our world battles a global pandemic.

"I mean I'm not gonna say that we're running into burning skyscrapers right now, but what we are facing is uncertainty," Goran said. "That's exactly what they were facing that morning. They didn't know what they were getting into. We don't know what we're going into. We've been given only the knowledge that we have at hand, and that's a lot of what we do as first responders. We get very little information up front, and then we go in and we figure it out."

Goran and Adams hope this event can bring people together during these trying times.

"The big thing is to have fun," Goran said. "It sounds so intimidating, and it is a lot to look at. But, when you break it up into small steps, into little pieces - you don't have to do all 110 push-ups consecutively. Break it up. But, in the end - you're completing the mission. It doesn't matter how you completed it, as long as it's completed." 

Registration is still open, and Goran and Adams are encouraging everyone to sign up. You can find out more by visiting the Columbia Memorial Stair Climb Facebook page.

Proceeds from the event go to SafetyNet of Missouri and Firefighters Cancer Support Network.

College Sports / Sports / Sports Video / Video

Andrew Kauffman

Andrew Kauffman is ABC 17’s sports director. He started working at the station in 2015.


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