I usually post all the comments that come in but this year decided to include just a few that are extra special. From the 8 Prebenda's, Greg Mandak and Francine Leff.
Thoughts from the Prebenda Family (Mom & Dad, six kids and seven dogs – plus an extra dog here and there to keep each of us paired up for the run). Our family participated in 18 of 20 H&H Runs.
Thanks for giving Stargazer (my 6-month-old pug) and me more than 15 seconds of fame, as the lead image on that very first H&H Run t-shirt way back when. It meant so much for me to have that little dog at that time, but I was isolated socially at school and it was so nice to feel included in something. I remember that your annual event provided something to work towards and concentrate on as the days got shorter and colder, even a little community with which to participate. It was such an honor to have the chance to take part and I am much obliged for the memories. Love, Aaron (age 32). [Aaron ran in the very first H&H Run in 1997 at age 13 ]
I suppose I, Reid (age 30), would share precisely this: Thank you for the heart with which you ran this event. Surely it was that heart that compelled you make this happen year in and year out with so many logistical challenges. It was with that heart and your vision that you created a magical place where union of dog and owner could celebrate friendship and love in the autumn colors. And it is with that heart that you have seared many precious memories into all of our hearts. That is a truly invaluable gift. So thank you with all of my heart.Love, Reid and Shadow and Djuna (You know, the dogs that always kept things interesting!) [Reid ran his first H&H Run at age 12 in 1998].
From Margo (age 28): I will never forget the joy of watching so many dog owners struggle to make their dogs behave in a setting where actually the dogs were the ones in control. It was such a wonderful way to include our best canine friends, and those races are something that will long remain in my memory. Oh, and I will also mention how much I love my hounds & harriers t-shirts- which I tend to wear until you can no longer tell that they are hounds & harriers t-shirts...
[Margo ran her first H&H Run with Relic in 1999 at age 11]
From Shane, age 25: This event was a tremendous legacy for our family - with so many loyal participants. It brings tears to my eyes both for the legacy. (In 2000, Shane was featured in the local paper following his first H&H Run with his black lab mix, Relic. He was 9).
Troy (age 17): I am so frustrated that I didn’t know this was the last Hounds & Harriers Run. I would have jumped through hoops to be there! It was always an amazing opportunity to come back to New Jersey each year and see our home town. And it was a community that brought us joy and connection; the H & H community was more than just welcoming. It was a kind community where people didn’t know each other to start, yet we ended up feeling as though we knew everyone just by coming to run with our dogs year after year. [Troy began his tenure with H&H Run at age 5, leading our aging pug in Paws from the Past in 2004]
Collin (Age 15): I loved the vibe at the race - and the bagels! But most of all, I loved having so MANY animals around at this event each year. [Little Collin (age 3) escorted our elderly Relic in Paws from the Past in 2004. More recently, Collin ran with his Chinese Crested mix, Pippa ]
Shelley (Mom) – I have special mementos that I’ll keep forever from this event (including a ribbon or two from the early years - before the runners became so competitive!). H&H Run was the absolute best way for us to celebrate our canine companions and the profound bond we share with them. Our family has treasured this event during the last two decades, looking forward to uniting with our kids & dogs year after year. THANK YOU, for creating this exuberant way to honor our best friends, and thanks for giving so much vital support to animal organizations that truly care. This annual tradition will be sorely missed by our family.
Michael (Dad) – this last H&H run was special for me because I was able to run with my dog Haley. I share her with my son Troy, and for the past five years, he has run with her (while I have run with other wonderful canine friends). This year, Troy could not attend the race and I was able to enjoy this special event with Haley. I have also enjoyed the pleasure of announcing Paws From The Past over the last many years. The beauty of celebrating our much-loved friends after they have lost their ability to run a 5k is quite humbling. It reminds me how generously they shared the best years of their life with us. I am grateful to you for the fond memories over the past 20 years, and how you have helped stitch the lives of our children, dogs and family together.
From Greg Mandak: Thank you for putting your heart and soul into this race over the years. I'm so glad I met you that day 16 years ago while hiking with Beri at Loantaka. Each year on the eve of the race, we could hardly contain our excitement and anticipation. And I enjoyed remaining involved in the race for the last several years after I moved to PA
Francine Leff: Thank you so much for all you have done and like Greg am glad I met you running at Loantaka (I think you might have stalked JJ and I :) ). JJ even at 12 1/2 kept up a great pace and when I say today is the day we "run with the dogs" he knows exactly what I mean. We will miss you but know we will see you on the trail.
Melissa McCutcheon & Ryder->
photo Vicki Benz
Thomas Somers (97) & Rudi
with John Tattersall & Legend
photo Benita Shor
Susan Duncan & Flip Flop with Veronica Ferreira (25) & Leo
photo Lance Beden