Challenge to honor the fallen

Sean Rogers, left, one of the founders of the Civilian Military Combine, stands with Metro Challenge winner Sean Smith after a workout on Monday to train for the race.

As part of the Metro Challenge, we selected three New Yorkers out of the more than 100 who applied to train and compete in the first-ever Civilian Military Combine, a race and obstacle course to be held the weekend of Sept. 11. The combine is a seven-mile mountain run through the Pocono Mountains, with a military obstacle course positioned at every mile marker. We asked each Metro Challenge winner: Why are you doing this?

Esther Carpenter
Carpenter currently works for the Parks Department, but dreams of one day becoming a police officer.

Age: 26
Height: 5 feet 6 inches  
Weight: 125 pounds

In her words: “I’ll be participating in support of the FDNY Burn Center. This particular charity is so important to me and my family because my brother, Joseph Carpenter, is a FDNY firefighter in Brooklyn. I hope my CMC effort will in some way honor the 9/11 victims and their families, and reflect the respect I have for the 9/11 rescue and support teams.”

Sean Smith
Smith worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on 9/11. He lost 17 friends and family
members, including his closest cousin, that day.
Age: 35
Height: 5 feet 9 inches
Weight: 185 pounds
In his words: “I’ll be fundraising for the Semper Fi Fund, in honor of my father, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Hope and Heroes Children’s Cancer Fund. I run in honor of the more than 17 people I knew that died on 9/11, and my father, a Marine, who died of cancer when I was a senior in high school.”

Robert Hawthorn
Hawthorn is a recent Fordham University graduate who is honoring a family friend, Chris Wodenshek, who died while working at Cantor Fitzgerald on Sept. 11, 2001.
Age: 23
Height: 6 feet 1 inch
Weight: 175 pounds
In his words: “I’m training in order to bring awareness to the many obstacles that our servicemen and women have to endure once they return home. I believe it is the responsibly of the American people to stand together and give back to those who have given so much for our freedom.”


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