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Alexandria’s Old Town Run Club Raising Funds For Inaugural 9/11 Memorial Run from Pentagon to Ground Zero

Danesi and Margioni visited the Tunnel to Towers Foundation (courtesy Old Town Run Club)

ALEXANDRIA, VA-Each week, the Old Town Run Club offers area runners of all ages, abilities, and occupations an opportunity to run with like-minded folks who are training for marathons, half-marathons, and short-to-mid-distance races, or who are simply looking to stay in shape in a supportive and friendly environment. This September, however, members of the Alexandria-based running club will embark on a far lengthier, more audacious, and much more significant run.

On September 8, 2024, after the playing of the national anthem, a reading, and a military send-off at the Pentagon, teams of runners, supported by numerous volunteers, will run 262 miles before arriving at Ground Zero on the morning of September 11. The Old Town Run Club’s inaugural “Pentagon to Ground Zero Run, a run for resilience, remembrance, and unity” will take the runners from Virginia, through the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, before arriving in New York.

“We are running in tribute and remembrance to our heroes who paid the ultimate price that day,” said Club member Eric Danesi. “All proceeds go towards supporting the Tunnel to Towers Foundation in their mission of honoring the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Siller, who laid down his life to save others on September 11, 2001, and to our military and first responders who continue to make the supreme sacrifice of life and limb for our country.”

Old Town Run Club’s logo (Image provided by Old Town Run Club)

To date, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation has delivered over 1,000 mortgage-free homes to catastrophically injured veterans and first responders, Gold Star, and fallen first responder families with young children, as well as 500 housing units and services to homeless veterans. In late March, Danesi and Club member Ono Margioni visited the Tunnel to Towers Foundation in Staten Island, where they saw Siller’s bunker coat and the amazing effort being made by over 200 staff to keep his name alive and to raise awareness and support for our fallen heroes.

On the way home, both men drove the entire running route, which intentionally avoids large cities in favor of smaller towns that are excited about participating in the event. “We’ve already had a tremendous response from many businesses, restaurants, law enforcement, and others along the route,” said Margioni. “Everybody knows somebody who was affected by 9/11 and they want to support this effort.”

Here in Alexandria, Port City Brewing Company will host the “Rivershed Run 5k @ Port City Brewery!” fundraiser for the Old Town Run Club on Sunday, May 12 (Mother’s Day), from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

“We’ve worked with the run club on several events, including our Joggers and Lagers’ run every Monday, and we’re super excited about supporting the Pentagon to Ground Zero Run,” said Port City’s Events Manager Julia Nadovich.

Nadovich said that the Rivershed Run 5k will follow a loop through Ben Brenman Park, highlighting the local river shed, before returning to the Wheeler Avenue location for live music, yard games, food trucks, and a host of beers, including its recently-reintroduced Rivershed Run Pale Ale. Port City has donated Rivershed Run merchandise that will be available for purchase at the Mother’s Day event, with the proceeds going to the Old Town Run Club.

A fundraising 5k is also planned on September 7 at the George Washington Masonic Temple. Following that race, Danesi and Margioni said that Club members will run to each local sponsor to thank them individually and take a picture in front of their business. In addition to Port City and Noxgear, Alexandria Bier Garden, Alexandria Toyota, Cuates Grill, Get Fit Studio, Global Trade Link, Inc., Lost Dog Café, Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub, O’Connells Irish Restaurant & Bar, and The Light Horse Restaurant & Bar have signed on as sponsors to date.

Rivershed Run logo (Image provided by Old Town Run Club)

Teams of runners will run each of 15 legs on September 8, ranging from 3.1 miles to 11 miles, covering a total distance of 108.6 miles from the Pentagon to an American Legion in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. If necessary, runners will run at night wearing visibility vests from sponsor Noxgear. On September 9, the plan is to cover 67.5 miles over 13 legs, ending at The Stray Dog Tavern in Harleysville, Pennsylvania.

The following day, September 10, the runners will cover 86.5 miles over 15 legs, before spending the night in Staten Island. On the morning of September 11, the group will take the Staten Island Ferry to the tip of Manhattan before walking the remaining distance, less than a mile, to the 9/11 Memorial. Throughout the journey, a runner carrying a large American flag will lead the relay teams, and the entire group will carry American flags into Manhattan while wearing red, white, and blue shirts from Virginia-based Custom Ink.

Club member Cheryl Miller, who has run distances from 55m to 55k and everything in between, and who recently led the track and field program at Lake Braddock Secondary School, said that The Pentagon to Ground Zero Run is especially personal. “This is a really special and important run for me, because I am from New York, and lost my friend Sam Eagan along with others in the 9/11 attacks,” said Miller, who was working just a few blocks from the White House on September 11, 2001. “While I’m sure that it will be emotional entering Manhattan on September 11, I’m doing it with the other people in this club, with whom I have a connection and who are kindred spirits with me.”

For running, volunteering, or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Ono Margioni at 757-293-8769 or Eric Danesi at 703-447-4490. Donations can be made directly at or

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story called the Tunnel to Towers Foundation the Tunnels to Towers Foundation. The error has been fixed

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