TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Twenty-two years later, hundreds of runners like Janet Nelson came right here to Al Lopez Park to honor the lives lost on 9/11.

“It was emotional because of all the speeches, and we just feel like we want to give back the little we can,” she said. “It makes me feel good there’s so many people out here doing it.”

The event was inspired by Marine 1st lt. Travis Manion.

He was killed by a sniper in 2007 in Iraq while defending his team.

Before Manion’s final deployment, he visited Rescue One in New York City — a fire station known for losing almost all of its men on 9/11.

Manion returned home with a deeper passion about why he was fighting in Iraq.

This run today is a tribute to the personal commitment to never forget the heroes of that day….And those who have been fighting ever since.

“When I came in [the US Army], I was a cadet,” Lt. Col Jeff Donahue said. “I really thought I was going to miss the war in 2004, and it’s really all we’ve done since I’ve been in the military.”

“It’s important for not only the first responders but all the brothers and sisters we’ve lost along the way,” he continued.

Co-race director Beau Higgins said he hoped the event brought back the sense of unity Americans felt after the horrific tragedy on Sept. 11, 2001.

“I think more importantly it’s the spirit we had on 9/11,” he said. “If we can remember what 9/11 was, how close this country was Democrat, Republican, Black, white, old, young, everybody came together.”

“That’s what this event is all about,” he continued.