Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 6, 2014
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2014
Ellie’s run for independence 5K
It’s on the calendar for Sunday July 13th in Roxbury. Ellie’s Run for Independence - what an intriguing title. What would you guess Ellie is running from or to? Maybe she is graduating from - nah, this is about one person. Maybe someone who is handicapped and has now mastered living on her own. That would make sense.
But this Ellie is someone who could not run or really move for the six months that it took ALS to take her life and take her from her family. The independence that she seeks is that which can be supplied by her foundation that helps victims and their families cope with the debilitating aspect of the disease.
Ellie Reynolds was the beloved wife, mother, grandmother to a large family who was diagnosed with ALS, also known as the Lou Gehrig disease. It slowly destroys the body so that an affected person cannot move and cannot speak. The race will raise funds so that the foundation in her name can make it easier for families to help their loved ones as the disease robs them of their ability to move.
You may have read her story in this newspaper on June 25th in the Leslie Ruse column. Reynolds had been an active person who loved to golf and to bowl. She was active in a number of organizations and most of all she was a huge presence in the lives of her family.
After Ellie Reynolds died in 2006 her granddaughter Shannon Psensky of Lake Hopatcong suffered through a long grieving process.
“When my grandmother passed away it was like taking away a part of my heart,” said Psensky. “It took a long time to really find myself again because she helped me with so many things.”
“I know she passed away - it seems like such a long time ago but I was holding on to it and not really doing much,” she said. “Finally I said, ‘that’s it,’ and I had to do something.”
Psensky’s “something” was to turn to exercise. It was January and her first attempt at a run became a long walk on a treadmill.
“Mind you, the first day I stepped on a treadmill New Year’s Day two and a half years ago I walked three and a half miles in just under an hour and I was huffing and puffing,” said Psensky. “Now I live to run three miles every day - in a half hour.”
Psensky said that when she started running she realized it was a cleansing experience. She had times when she cried but she also felt like her grandmother was with her.
“When I’m running I say that my feet have wings because she is behind me pushing me along.”
When Psensky approached The Ellie Reynolds ALS Foundation about putting on a 5K race they told her she was crazy. But she persisted. She admits that as inexperienced as she was she made some mistakes like not putting the race in the New Balance Grand Prix. She did get the race sanctioned and the course is certified and next year it will be in the grand prix.
The course uses all of the paths in the park and has some overlap, but it is contained entirely within the Horseshoe Lake Park off Eyland Avenue in Succasunna. Because the park is in the Succasunna Plains area the course is nearly pancake flat. Psensky runs in the park often.
“I love running in Horseshoe Lake because it is a great run,” she said. “It’s really scenic and serene. Not like running down a street.”
Registration will open at 6:15 a.m. A one mile fun run for kids age eight and younger will go off at 7:00 a.m. The 5K will start at 7:30 a.m.
Locals do well in Fast Five
The Fast Five summer series final results have been posted. Atilla Sabahoglu of Piscataway was the fastest man in the series. Rob DeCarlo of Saddlebrook was second and Gary Rosenberg of Morristown was third.
Rosenberg was also fourth in the Masters division based on the highest in age grading. Beau Atwater of Bernardsville was the top masters man, with Bill Bosman of Rockaway second.
Debby Hall of Westfield won in the women’s division and Hall, 49, also placed third in the masters women division. Jane Parks of Morristown was the top masters woman. The full results are now posted at the USATF NJ website.
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at email@example.com.