Wask goes 27 miles in honor of granddaughter

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:02

    FREDON — Last Sunday started early for 69-year-old Bruce Wask. The Fredon resident was up at around 4 a.m. to down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and lots of fluids. A little before 7 a.m. he arrived at the starting point of his day-long goal; to run as far as he could on the Paulins Kill Trail in honor of his granddaughter, Alexandra, to raise awareness for autism and funds for research towards the disability's cure. Wask wasn't alone. Friends were waiting for him and some were ready to run with him, like Stillwater's Jackie Kaufman, who accompanied Wask for 19 miles. Others, like Alan Anderson of Fredon, were on Wask's support team. Anderson drove the support vehicle with drinks, food and supplies, and met Wask and his ever-changing entourage at various points throughout the day. Members of the Bears Youth Running Program, which Wask volunteers to help coach, were on hand including Noah and Charlie Keppler of Stillwater. Noah ran with Bruce while Charlie served as the official starter with a megaphone in hand at dawn. Robyn Waldo and her daughter, Cleary, of Stillwater, saw Wask off and worked the check point. Members of the Kittatinny Cross Country Team, including Blake DiGiacomo and Ian Anderson, held signs and collected donations from passing vehicles. Others, like Sparta's Tony Pinsonault, arrived later in the day to find Wask and get him through some of his toughest miles as the day wore on. In the middle of the afternoon, after learning that part of the trail was under water on the Blairstown end, Wask decided to turn around and head for the finish. "I was feeling a bit lightheaded despite all of the Gu and fluids I'd consumed," said Wask. "It was time to call it a day." After 27 miles, rather than looking exhausted, Wask was animated. He greeted those back at the check point and friends who came by to wish him well. This was the third year Wask ran in memory of his grandaughter. At the end of the day he received the best reward possible: a hug from his wife, Ginny, and her serving him his "four Cs:" cookies, cake, candy and ice cream.