Tour of Duty run to honor 9/11 first responders comes through Phoenix

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PHOENIX -- With less than a month until the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, firefighters from all over the country and overseas are pounding the pavement to raise money for the 9/11 Memorial Fund.

The Tour of Duty run started at the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles on Aug. 12 at 8:46 a.m., and will end at the World Trade Center site in New York on Sept. 11. The run will cover 4,600 miles across 20 states in 31 days.

The team, which is made up of 16 Australian firefighters and 20 American firefighters, police officers and EMTs, is making its way through Arizona today. The runners are doing relay shifts, anywhere from 1 mile to 15 miles depending on the weather, pretty much around the clock.

Each of the firefighters has his own reason for taking part in the Tour of Duty run, which honors the 343 New York City firefighters who died on Sept. 11, 2001. Sixty-eight other first responders -- police officers and paramedics -- were also killed.

The Tour of Duty run was organized by a group of firefighters from the Northern Territory.

Proceeds from the Tour of Duty run will benefit a variety of charities, including the Tribute WTC Visitor Center, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, among others.