49th precinct braces for race on 9/11

This year’s 49th Precinct annual 9/11 Memorial 5k Run may be more meaningful than ever before.

The event, which is dedicated every year to Lieutenant Thomas Clesse, will take place on Saturday, September 11.

It will be the first time the 9/11 memorial race is held on 9/11 in eight-year history.

The race will also start an hour later than usual, so that it coincides with remembrance ceremonies at Ground Zero.

“This is the first time we’ve had it on the actual day, so it will be a little more significant for everyone,” said 49th Precinct Community Affairs officer Victor DiPierro.

“This year we will be holding moments of silence along with the ceremonies downtown,” he said. “Nothing will start until after the second moment of silence.”

The race will begin at about 10 a.m. at the precinct headquarters at 2121 Eastchester Road. Starting at the station, the route goes from Pelham Parkway South up to White Plains Road and back again to Eastchester Road.

Before the main 5K event will be a smaller kids race for children under 13.

All runners can register for the event on the day of the race, outside the station. The registration fee for runners over 13 is $20, and all participants will receive free T-shirts.

Winners will receive trophies, but the first place raffle winner will get a $1,000 prize, and a “basket of cheer” from Gleason’s at 2040 Eastchester Road will go to the second place winner.

After the races, everyone will be invited to the awards ceremony and a luncheon at the restaurant. Event organizers are expecting a large crowd, with members of Lieutenant Clesse’s family, and families of 9/11 victims to attend.

“This was good timing,” said Community Council president Joe Thompson. “One of the reasons we started this eight years ago was that we wanted to make sure the community would never forget 9/11 and the sacrifices made.”

The race began in 2002 in honor of Thomas Clesse, a long-time member of the force who passed away from cancer in 2001.

The race was originally held each year in early September to honor the beloved officer, but after 9/11 the race became a 9/11 memorial event. All funds will go to the windows and orphans of fallen police officers.

“When we decided we were going to have it, we wanted to name it after someone who worked here. Lieutenant Clesse touched a lot of people, so we thought it was perfect to tie it in,” said Sergeant Thomas Bruen, a race organizer. “It’s open for everybody, whether you’re a runner or not. It’s more about the memorials than about who comes in first or second place.”

Last year, the race raised about $1,500 for the charity, and more than 100 people attended.

According to DiPierro, each year the event has grown larger and larger.

“Last year was the biggest we’ve ever had,” he said. “We’re hoping that this year is even bigger, especially since it’s on September 11.”

Reach reporter Max Mitchell at (718) 742-3394 or mmitchell@cnglocal.com

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