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Messier to run marathon with 9/11 memories

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NEW YORK, NY

Every year the New York City Marathon draws celebrity runners, and Sunday's race will be no different, with skater Apolo Ohno, softball pitcher Jennie Finch and hockey Hall of Famer Mark Messier all running for charities.

And in the case of the ex-Ranger, the race will be both personal and cathartic 10 years after 9/11.

While Ohno is running for Subway and the Special Olympics, and Finch for Timex, Messier is running for Tomorrow's Children Fund and the wives and widows of 9/11.

After the passing of the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, Messier said he still counts himself lucky not to have perished in the World Trade Center and is determined to give back to the survivors of those who did.

"The meditation part of running has been very therapeutic for me. I didn't expect that," said Messier, who captained the Rangers to the 1994 Stanley Cup.

"It gave me a chance to reflect on my own life and the things that've transpired in the last 10 years since 9/11 ... and what were the circumstances that kept [the Rangers] from training camp at the World Trade Center that fatal morning and for all the people that weren't so lucky," he added. "So it's a great opportunity to bring awareness, and really kind of do something for those people so that we never forget."

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Messier said the 60-man roster was to have training camp in New York for the first time ever at Chelsea Piers and stay at the Marriott, but the plan got shelved just before camp because the dressing rooms were not adequate.

"We had our physical fitness testing at Madison Square Garden instead of the ballrooms in the Marriott. So when the first plane struck, some of us were in our apartments [and] some of us were in Madison Square Garden thankfully instead of at the World Trade Center, where our whole team would've been staying," Messier told the Post.

"I'm only one New Yorker whose life was altered that day for many different reasons. Some weren't so lucky. Others for whatever reason were spared," he said. "Then you ask yourself, well, 'What was it that we decided to call it off,' you start to ask yourself those questions and what you realize is that you have a responsibility to help, because a lot of families got torn apart."
 

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