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Runners retrace fallen hero’s path in 9/11 Tunnels to Towers 5K race

Survivors of the 9/11 terror attacks and veterans of wars that followed were among the 32,000 people who laced up Sunday for the Tunnels to Towers run to retrace the steps of fallen FDNY hero Stephen Siller.

The annual 5K event honors Siller for his remarkable race to the World Trade Center towers from Red Hook through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel the day of the deadly strikes.

Firefighters and their supporters said they felt a duty to honor friends, coworkers and Americans who lost their lives in the onslaught.

“I worked with over 100 who died on 9/11. I had to be here,” said 89-year-old FDNY retiree Lou Andrade of Setauket on Long rIsland — who volunteered at Ground Zero in the grim days after the attacks.

“Today’s a tradition for all firefighters, to remember those we lost.”

Retired FDNY member Erika Schaub, 48, also of Setauket, said she “lost 15 friends in the towers on 9/ll.”

“I was there with my response team,” she said.

Other runners said they participated to honor the role 9/11 played in shaping their lives.

“The whole reason I became a firefighter was because of 9/11,” said 40-year-old Nicole Attanasio of the Dumont, NJ, Fire Department. “I want to feel the same sweat and pain as he (Stephen Sills) did running through the tunnel.”

Joe Palermo, 43, of Scotch Plains, NJ, said the attacks inspired him to enlist in the Army, where he served five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I went to the recruiter and asked him to speed it up. I signed the next day,” he said. “I’m running today to honor the fallen.”