31Miles for 31Heroes inspires those on the Suncoast
SARASOTA - It’s done to honor the 31 military members killed in action when enemy fire shot down their helicopter in Afghanistan on August 6 of 2011.
Eight years later, the 31Heroes Project, along with other non-profits such as The Brian Bill Foundation pay tribute to the fallen by way of 31 mile walk through our nation’s capital and organized workouts nationwide.
Real Fitness Sarasota gym owner Tanya Poppa’s participation this time around is two-fold.
“I flew to Washington D.C., and participate in a 31 mile ruck. We had bricks in our backpack, we had bricks on a stretcher that represented the 31 heroes that died in Extortion 17," explain Poppa.
She says participating in the walk is a small way she could raise awareness to the foundation. “It took us about 12 hours, 13 hours. We started at the Lincoln lawn and ended at Arlington Cemetery," says Poppa.
Poppa says the ruck through the night honoring the 30 active duty military members and 1 military working dog, along with gyms hosting workouts to keep their legacy alive, helps to heal what is considered the worst loss of life in a single incident during the Afghanistan War.
Real Fitness Sarasota manager Meredith Smith leads Tuesday’s 31Heroes workout.
“So the workout is a partner workout. They do a 400 meter run with their plates while their partner inside is doing some heavy thrusters, some rope climbs and also doing box jumps. Everything is just a little bit to the next level with this workout," says Smith.
Poppa says she will definitely participate next year and witnessing the massive response and support to the project is humbling.
“I think it’s really important to keep doing these kinds of stuff to make sure these guys are remembered, these heroes are given the credit that they deserve," add Poppa.
Visit 31Heroes.org to learn more about the foundation and its mission.