Reich Freedom Run is a family affair
The Stephen Reich Freedom Run 5K road race turned out to be a generational reunion of sorts in Washington.
The town's traditional Fourth of July run was hosted July 4 by the Parks & Recreation Commission at Steep Rock Reservation.
The race is held in memory of Major Stephen Reich, a 1989 Shepaug Valley High School graduate who died in 2005 in Afghanistan in service to our nation.
The event signalled the start of Washington's day-long holiday festivities, set to climax that evening with fireworks at Shepaug Valley High School (see Spectrum Images on Page S9).
Nearly 200-strong men, women, teens and children of all shapes and sizes enjoyed the out-and-back Freedom Run 5K course along the Shepaug River.
Many who grew up in the Shepaug school district were back in town for the event, joining residents who make this an annual recreational tradition.
Their number was swelled by dozens of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The individual champion was Andy Pullaro, a recent Shepaug graduate who excelled the past several years for Spartan cross country and track teams.
He clocked 17:10 to ease past former champion David Hunt (17:32), of New Milford.
Others claiming top 10 finishes were Jonah Riolo (17:48), of Woodbury; Shepaug athlete Logan Ross (18:33), of Washington; Don Tutson (19:10), of New Milford; women's champ Jeanne Theleen (19:19), of Southbury; Stephen George (19:28), Maj. Reich's brother in law; Tilden Daniels (19:34), of Washington; and Tyler Heishman (20:05), of New York City.
Special awards were presented by race director Ray Reich, Major Reich's father, to Harry Ong, of Roxbury as the oldest male runner; Arlene Kershnar, of Roxbury as the oldest female runner; the Eischen family, of Chandler, Az. for traveling the farthest; John Mullen, of Bridgewater as the oldest military veteran; Christina Fernandez-O'Toole, as the newest military runner; Logan Ross, as the first Shepaug student finisher; and Lauren Werkhoven, and her as yet unborn daughter, for their dead heat finish.
Photography by Norm Cummings