LOWER MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) -- A popular event returned to the One World Trade Center for the first time in two years on Sunday.
The Tunnel to Towers Climb kicked off early in the morning.
Throughout the event, members from the FDNY and NYPD all crossed the finish line. The first couple of runners ended up making the climb in about 20 minutes.
People who participated, challenged themselves with climbing 104 flights, or 2,226 stairs to reach the top of the building.
It's a symbol of strength and resilience.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation is dedicated to FDNY Firefighter Stephen Siller, who died trying to save others on 9/11.
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The foundation impacts many from around the world, and many climbers came from across the globe -- some as far as Asia.
"One World Trade Center is such an iconic building and to appreciate the sacrifice of all the heroes of 9/11 incident," climber Wai-ching Soh said.
The foundation also provides mortgage-free homes to first responders, veterans and families of fallen first responders.
For Rob Jones, crossing the finish line meant victory.
He's a double amputee from Virginia, who served in the military and protected the country.
"Gratitude, just to be thankful. So many heroic people on 9/11 that were willing to risk their lives come up here and save as many people as they could and that we continue to have millions of people like that," Jones said.
The honorary starter of the climb was the wife of an FDNY firefighter who lost his battle against 9/11-related illness.
"I'm so proud to be part of this foundation, the work that Tunnels to Towers has done is remarkable, they help first responders, not only in New York City who responded on 9/11, but across the country, the work they're doing with the military and now they've expanded to housing for homeless veterans, it's amazing the impact that they've made in 20 years," honorary starter Erika Oelkers said.
As climbers crossed the finish line, they all received medals, a cheer and a relief that they aren't alone in this journey.
"It's not easy having lost someone in the line of duty," climber Sadia Baxter said. "But knowing that you're not alone, means so much to me."
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