The Legacy of the Jeff Coombs Race

A town tradition in remembrance of 9/11

Members+of+the+AHS+soccer%2C+cross+country+and+track+and+field+teams+pose+for+a+picture+after+the+20th+Annual+Jeff+Coombs+Memorial+Road+Race+on+Sunday%2C+September+19th%2C+2021.+From+left+to+right%3A+Maria+Wood%2C+Selena+Wood%2C+Jill+Groom%2C+Kaiaam+Mohammed%2C+Krish+Panjwani%2C+Collin+Hammill%2C+Enver+Amboy%2C+Shannon+Groom%2C+and+Jackie+Earner

Matthew Campbell via Twitter

Members of the AHS soccer, cross country and track and field teams pose for a picture after the 20th Annual Jeff Coombs Memorial Road Race on Sunday, September 19th, 2021. From left to right: Maria Wood, Selena Wood, Jill Groom, Kaiaam Mohammed, Krish Panjwani, Collin Hammill, Enver Amboy, Shannon Groom, and Jackie Earner

Margaret Hardy, Staff Writer

Every year, the anniversary of 9/11 is a solemn day across the country. It is a day of remembrance and reflection, honoring all who died on that day, and every day after as a result. There are memorial services and events to honor those lost across the country, and that is no different in Abington. Jeffrey “Jeff” Coombs, an Abington resident, tragically passed away on Flight 11 during the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.

In the spring of 2002, friends approached Jeff’s widow Christie Coombs about wanting to do something to bring the community together on the first anniversary of 9/11. Mrs. Coombs said, “I asked that they do something that would include families because Jeff was so family oriented, so they created the road race”.

And so the Jeff Coombs Memorial Road Race was born. The race annually attracts more than 1,000 community members and raises over $50,000.

“…looking out over the huge crowd always struck me and never failed to bring tears of gratitude, and of course sadness, for why we were all there; but also tears because so many people had gathered in memory of Jeff and all those who died on 9/11.””

— Christie Coombs

Along with the traditional race, there are also many food vendors and games. It is a fun and enjoyable time for everyone, while also being a place where people can honor and mourn the lives that were lost.

This year we have recently commemorated the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and it was announced that the road race would be running for a final time.

When asked about her favorite memories over the years, Mrs. Coombs said “looking out over the huge crowd always struck me and never failed to bring tears of gratitude, and of course sadness, for why we were all there; but also tears because so many people had gathered in memory of Jeff and all those who died on 9/11.”

The final race was a joy for everyone to participate in, making it one for the community to never forget. The togetherness and goodness this race brought to the community will never be looked over.

If one thing is to be taken from the final race, it is the legacy that Mrs. Coombs wants the race to leave behind. She wishes for everyone to remember “that it’s important to always remember what happened on 9/11 and the people who died that day and following; that it should be acknowledged as a day of service and remembrance through community service or acts of kindness; that differences can be set aside to support one another; that we are a community and together we can make a difference.”

 

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