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Run for Fallen in Bay Ridge

Soldiers remembered in special 'Run for the Fallen'

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Man in charge: Colonel Eluyn Gines, the commander of Fort Hamilton, honored those who gave their lives by participating in the run.
Boots made for runnin’: Jessica Bryan of Dyker Heights, the founder of the youth service organization Step into Their Boots, wore boots bearing the name of Tyler Connely of the Navy during the run.
Memory carried on: Sharon Roderique of Fort Hamilton, with her daughter Samantha and her nephew Brandon Dickson, participated in honor of her husband, a soldier who was murdered in Trinidad and Tobago two years ago.
Hero’s mother: Emily Toro of the Bronx holds a photo of her son, Isaac Cortes, who was killed in Iraq on Nov. 22, 2007.

Hundreds of New Yorkers came to Bay Ridge on Saturday to show they keep America’s fallen servicemen in their hearts — by using their feet.

More than 100 members of the military and relatives of those who made the ultimate sacrifice came to Fort Hamilton Army Garrison on Aug. 18 to take part in the third annual Run for the Fallen, a nationwide event honoring those lost. Cathy SantoPietro, the base’s Community Relations Officer, said it was the run’s biggest turnout yet.

“Each year it’s grown,” SantoPietro said. “We were really amazed so many people came out, because the weather really wasn’t good.”

The runners — including the base’s new commander, Iraq veteran Colonel Eluyn Gines — then jogged along the Shore Road Promenade from John Paul Jones Park to the 69th Street Pier and back. SantoPietro said some went the distance in as little as half an hour, while others took an hour and a half — every minute of it in honor of our troops.

“Everyone did the best they could. Some ran the whole way, some ran and walked,” she said. “It was about what it symbolized, not a timed race.”

The Run for the Fallen was inspired by a group of runners who ran from California to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia in 2008 in honor of the army’s birthday — a 6,557-mile trek, with each mile representing a soldier who died in Iraq or Afghanistan. SantoPietro said the much shorter jaunt in Bay Ridge was a way of continuing the tradition and recalling those who died in the cause of liberty.

“We owe a lot to our military for our freedom. And many of them gave the ultimate sacrifice, and their families sacrificed. And we want them to know that we appreciate them and honor them, and we’ll never forget them,” SantoPietro said.

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