Belmont Park to host the National Stair Climb on Sunday
by Jim Reisler
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced that Belmont Park will host the 8th annual National Stair Climb on Sunday, October 16 in partnership with the Fire Department City of New York (FDNY) and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF).
Though NYRA has moved live racing this fall to Aqueduct Racetrack to accommodate ongoing construction, participants will again climb 2,200 steps of the grandstand at Belmont Park. The steps symbolize the 110 stories of the World Trade Center Towers – the ascent that FDNY firefighters took on September 11, 2001 – and the ultimate sacrifice that 343 first responders made that fateful day.
The Stair Climb at Belmont Park serves the official National Stair Climb in partnership with FDNY and NFFF. This year's event is part of the nationwide 9/11 stair climb program, which pays tribute to the FDNY firefighters who died on 9/11 and supports the families of fallen firefighters and the FDNY Counseling Service Unit.
“When first responders die in the line of duty, the entire fire service and country grieves,” said Chief Ron Siarnicki, who is the NFFF executive director. “It's not something you can ever forget. We look for ways to make sure their lives and their sacrifices are honored. We also want to ensure that the families, departments and friends of the fallen find comfort and resources they need to rebuild their lives.”
The nation's inaugural stair climb to benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation took place on September 11, 2005 when Colorado firefighters climbed 110 flights of stairs in Denver – each step commemorating the 110 stories of the World Trade Centers. The concept caught on around the country; and in 2017, the NFFF moved the National Stair Climb to Belmont Park.
Members of the general public can participate by registering as an individual climber, team captain or team member. In addition, donations can be made to a climber or a team.
Registration and additional information on donating to the stair climb can be found here.Gates and on-site registration will begin at 9 a.m. Oct. 16 at Belmont Park. The opening ceremony will be at 10 a.m., with the climb set for 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Participants are invited to a post-climb reception immediately following the climb in the Belmont Park backyard and Paddock Terrace.