Former firefighter running across America to honor victims of 9-11

By the time Bob Alessio reaches Boston next March, he hopes to have covered more than 5,400 miles in his transcontinental marathon honoring the victims of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

Alessio, 57, began the run April 23 on the beach at Playa del Rey in Los Angeles. He ran up the coast to San Francisco before heading east into the Sierra, to Tahoe and -- Wednesday -- Carson City.

"It's a Run Across America for Enduring Freedom," he said.

Alessio said his route will take him through not only all the sites connected with the September attacks but other "terror" sites as well -- including Oklahoma City, Memphis where Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and Dallas where President Kennedy was murdered.

"I was actually thinking about running across America before Sept. 11 as a personal challenge," he said. "But after that, it took on a patriotic purpose."

He said he will also visit all the nation's service academies on the way and run to Ground Zero in New York before finishing in Boston.

Alessio was a volunteer fireman in Arnold, Pa., for three years when he was in his 20s. He intensified his running after retirement from Digital Corp. last year.

He runs an average of 20 miles each day. Because of his circuitous route, it will take a total of 11 months for Alessio to finish the run.

Followed by his one-man support team of Ray Napoli, he planned to head east on Highway 50 this morning toward the Utah border.

"I try to stop at every police and fire department I pass," he said. "I want to express my support and let them know how much I appreciate them."

By the time he's finished, Alessio will have run through at least 10 pairs of shoes, he figures.


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