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Hundreds make World Trade Center tower climb

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- They're high steppers of a different sort.

More than 700 people took the long way up at the World Trade Center on Thursday - climbing the stairs - for the inaugural "Runyon Up," a fundraiser for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.

Elite climbers went first, leading the pack at 4 World Trade Center. Participants could either tackle all 72 floors, or do a partial climb of 54.

Tim Donahue was the first man to reach the 72nd floor, making the climb in just under 9 minutes. The 44-year-old New York City teacher does several tower climbs a year. The first woman was Shari Klarfeld, 33, of Plainview, who made it in slightly over 11 minutes.

"It's striking how new this building is. It's like an unused baseball glove," Donahue said. "It's missing the cigarette butts and gum stains."

The building, part of a complex still under construction to replace the towers destroyed in the 2001 terrorist attacks, is so new that the floors climbers finished on were still unfinished.

Being at the World Trade Center site had particular meaning for Capt. Ray Farrell of the Fire Department of New York's Ladder 43 in East Harlem. The 53-year-old made the climb with a few of the men from his company.

"We climbed from ashes, here we are," the 25-year veteran said.

Some firefighters from New Jersey came to the climb in full gear.

"We do it as a tribute" to those who were lost in the Sept. 11 attacks, said Sean Smith, 22, who said he was wearing 68 pounds of equipment. He has been a firefighter for five years in Lebanon, N.J.

The event raised more than $170,000, said Lorraine Egan, foundation president and chief executive. She said the organization hopes to repeat the event next year.

Asked if organizers considered trying to move it to 1 World Trade Center, she said it wasn't something they had spoken to anyone about, but "I would love that."

Tower climbs are held in high-profile buildings around the world, including the Empire State Building. The event Thursday was sanctioned, unlike a recent spate of unauthorized visits by thrill-seekers to the site.

Sixteen-year-old Justin Casquejo, of Weehawken, N.J., was arrested last month after getting through a hole in the fence surrounding the 104-story 1 World Trade Center and taking the elevator to the spire. A judge has ordered Casquejo to be assessed in a program for youthful offenders. He faces charges including criminal trespass.

In September, three people parachuted from the building, producing a video of their jump.

Stair Climbing for Charity at 4 World Trade Center


Follow Deepti Hajela on Twitter: (at)dhajela

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JE WA ZA WI April 05 2014 at 12:14 PM

No matter the . cause, there were 700 enthusiastic participants that united their efforts for a cancer research center . They did this freely on their own and the country is not controlled by a dictator telling what to do,or not to do .It's the American way ,and those who complain the pros and cons of this event can do so without fear of penalty ,since it's freedom of speech .Millions of American men and women have died preserving that one right.

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SunTikiCottages April 04 2014 at 11:55 PM

The anger in some posts is incredible. The way I look at it, we have to move on, yet never forget. IMO this was an event which did just that, it made us all remember that day in history, yet todays event was a positive one. I personally am glad that events like this are taking place. To make us remember. So many times bad things happen to us as US citizens(Vietnam), and yet time just lets it all just slide into a distant memory. I bet most kids today under 15 dont even know about Vietnam or how many died there. We can say that about many ugly historical events. I also don't feel anyone who perished would have wanted us to react the way we do on these posts. For what good does it do? What does it accomplish? Im just humbled to know that there are people who are not letting what happened on Sept 11 disappear from our thoughts.

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1 reply
M Washam SunTikiCottages April 05 2014 at 7:57 PM

Well said SunTiki - If only we could go back to the unity we all felt that day. It didn't matter a bit which political party any of us supported, or which religious banner we wore...that day we were all united as AMERICANS... sadly, we;ve allowed that fabric to unravel and we've become so divided and hateful towards one another. We've allowed corporate owned media (on both sides)and TV pundits to separate us from our most powerful weapon...the power of being united

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hambrock7 April 04 2014 at 10:00 PM

Why didn't they just call it Freedom Run in honor of 9-11-01, in honor of those, and cancer. Wow, so many year's have passed, seem's like just a few year's ago.

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1 reply
Steve's Stuff hambrock7 April 05 2014 at 8:26 AM

because they also took the name Freedom Tower away too. It will be officially known as 1 Worl Trade Center. ( Very Immaginatuve) It'S Name should be 1 Freedom Tower, and it should be bathed in RED WHITE AND BLUE!!!!!!

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tdiplaci April 05 2014 at 8:36 AM

I have to take exception of showing a brave firefighter going up a set of stairs to lead into this article. To use that picture to lure us into reading this is sickening. You did a disservice to firefighters and it is disgraceful. We arte not dumb and you don't have to trick us into reading a story. You need to fire some people that do not know how to present the news.

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1 reply
PamieJune tdiplaci April 05 2014 at 3:12 PM

I agree - I thought it was about the people who were trapped in the towers and that they ran up, not down. Sickening.

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Steve's Stuff April 05 2014 at 8:31 AM

Always remember, RED, WHITE, and BLUE, These colors NEVER RUN!!!!!!!!!! USA,USA,USA,USA

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Tom April 05 2014 at 3:33 AM

The lead-in asked why hundreds rushed up the world trade center stairs. I thought it was going to be an article about how Rudy Guiliani, the mayor of New York City, cut the upgrading of the fire departments' communications system from the budget. The fireman rushing up the world trade center stairs on 9/11 were unable to hear their orders to evacuate because of the antiquated radio equipment they had. Many of them lost their lives for this reason.

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2 replies
Drew Tom April 05 2014 at 5:05 AM

they lost their lives mainly because of the militant mid-easterners who hijacked the planes, slit the throats of the stewardesses and fought with and killed the Pilots, and took over the planes. Mayor Giuliani was not at fault, and could not have known that pruning some asked for spending on new equipment would be an impediment in an uncalled for attack on USA. This would be like blaming Pres. Roosevelt for not having ordered more advanced Radar Systems, in Radars early days, that might have helped the US Naval Base really know the Japs were coming to attack Pearl Harbor in 1941. 911 like Pearl Harbor, there were Hints US Intelligence Services had and missed or ignored, of the impending attacks. Go look at stock exchange trading of Airline Stocks the Friday before the 911 attack,.. the volume and price declines in options were especially large -- a lot of militant muslims buddies were trading ahead of the attack, to profit off it.

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2 replies
libby Drew April 05 2014 at 6:23 AM

Drew, You are wrong. 9-11 was a false flag "inside job" blamed on "terrorism" to bring in the "police state" and steps toward one world government. The facts don't match your story the main stream media told you and you blindly acceoted ....hook, line and sinker. Watch "terrorstorm", and "loose change" on youtube and as you "look" into it, you will find a third building collapsed in demolition style without being hit by a plane, and you will find 2000 architects and engineers who "call out" and deny the story that reporters/boobs told you. Are you going to believe the "boobs" or the engineers?

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hotsteper7 Drew April 05 2014 at 8:10 AM

your so right libby also bigfoot. sasquach, lochness monster, area 51 aliens,monters, boogiemen are all real

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Steve's Stuff Tom April 05 2014 at 8:24 AM

You really believe that? They lost their lives DOING THEIR JOBS, They are the true heros of 911 It was because some third world country Is jelous of what we have, and wanted to destroy it.It was because of NIAVE Americans like you, that the Talaban were able to do this.The true shame of 9-11 was the wimpy prez we had at the time. WE SHOULD HAVE NUKED THEM ALL right off the earth Period.

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browse62 April 04 2014 at 6:39 PM

This kind of misleading headline, showing a fireman in a gas mask climbing the stairs, is one of the reasons I am seriously contemplating ditching AOL. I really don't need to waste being duped into reading about every charity run.

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1 reply
Diane Stearns browse62 April 05 2014 at 1:01 AM

The photograph shows one of the firefighters from New Jersey who made the climb in full gear showing respect for those firefighters who died during 9-11.

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toddisit April 05 2014 at 10:02 AM

No stairs for me, too old, fat, and ugly!

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freeradicals April 04 2014 at 6:16 PM

Approx. how many steps? (just curious, thought I would find it in the article)

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pineridgememorialpark April 04 2014 at 8:00 PM

despicable! hundreds make world trade center climb while thousands were killed trying to get out on 9/11/2001! this article is complete disrespect to those who died or actual heroes who died trying to save others. before 9/11 who held a charity in any world trade center tower? None!

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2 replies
Sonny pineridgememorialpark April 04 2014 at 8:19 PM

No one is listening to your rant. You miss the point, as well as many other things.........

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Steve's Stuff pineridgememorialpark April 05 2014 at 8:30 AM

WHAT????? This is an excellant way to go on with our lives. Thye Taliban wanted to bring us to our knees, and to be fearful. Your ranting is proving that they did. This event shows The United States will NOT BE PUSHED into submission. Go back under your rock.

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