Fredon man to run all day for Autism awareness and research

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:49

Fredon — Many know him as an unassuming, 69-year-old financial planner who lives in Fredon. But just like Clark Kent, Bruce Wask has a secret Super Man inside of him. This Sunday, Oct. 23, for the third year in a row, he will run all day on the Paulins Kill Valley Trail to raise awareness for Autism awareness and research. He calls his annual mission Alexandra's Run, named in honor of his granddaughter Alexandra who is autistic. With friends at his side, Wask will begin his journey at 7 a.m. on the Paulins Kill Trail where it crosses Paulins Kill Road near the Stillwater Dam. In contrast to the past two years, Wask's training this year hasn't been as rigorous as he would have liked. "My training and preparation has been abysmal this year," said Wask. "I shuffled 10.75 miles to Route 519 and back on the trail on Thursday which has been the longest I've shuffled." Wask said he can't honestly call what he does running. "I missed the week before with a stiff neck. I have been consistently inconsistent," he said. "My lifelong battle with procrastination is catching up to me." Another complication to his running regimen is that Wask's wife, Ginny, has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Wask has been taking care of her during treatment for several months. In years past, Ginny has driven the support vehicle that is stocked with food, drinks and supplies during Wask's venture. This year a Friday treatment will leave her unable to fulfill her support duties. Despite all this, Wask will carry on knowing some of Ginny's now famous chocolate chip cookies will be waiting for him when he's done. "I'm looking forward to the run because of all of the good things that are part of it," said Wask. Wask said he draws support from the Bears youth running team and coaches, parents of those runners, people from his church, and his family, friends and clients. "[They] are so generous and supportive and so kind that it overwhelms me." Wask volunteers his time every fall and winter to coach area children through the Bears Youth Running Program and the winter Polar Bears Youth Track and Field Program. The main objective of Wask's day-long run is to raise money for New Jersey Autism to train paraprofessionals and aides to work with those who have autism and their families. "Anything people can do to to help raise money for that objective would be wonderful," said Wask. "They can donate themselves, ask family, friends and neighbors to donate, et cetera." The public is encouraged to come out on Sunday and run portions of the trail with Wask. Supporters can also walk or bike along the trail. Wask will pass by the central point at the intersection of the trail and Paulins Kill Road several times during the day and said he would love some company as he shuffles along. Tina Keppler has volunteered to do a cookout at the central point starting at 1 p.m. Donations will also be collected at this site. With Ginny unable to drive the support vehicle, Alan Anderson of Fredon has volunteered to fill in. Wask taught Anderson's son for a number of years. For more information about the event, e-mail