News Article Details

'Bring Ernie to Boston'

Pocono Record - 2/3/2019

Feb. 03--STROUDSBURG -- The Boston Marathon poses an extraordinary endurance challenge to even some of the most experienced athletes. As the world's oldest annual marathon, the 26.2-mile course presents roughly 30,000 entrants with hard pavement, brisk winds and punishing hills in temperatures averaging 45-50 degrees.

Ernie Roundtree, 34, a Monroe County Special Olympics athlete from East Stroudsburg, has something to say about that: bring it on.

"Bring on the hills," Roundtree said on Friday, wrapping up his regular training session at the Pocono Family YMCA. "I'm just going to stay focused and get to the finish line."

Roundtree will run this year, for the first time, in the Boston Marathon, on April 15. He will be participating as the Hopkinton Police Association's guest runner.

"A friend of mine from Massachusetts who was in law enforcement asked me, 'Have I ever thought about running in Boston?'" he said. "I told him it's been my dream since I was a little kid. I was nine years old when I dreamed about it."

Roundtree was introduced to the Boston-suburb-based police association during the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Washington. There, the athlete had the honor of carrying the torch into the stadium for the Law Enforcement Torch Run during opening ceremonies.

Among the law enforcement runners was Detective Sergeant Larry Crosman, a member of the Hopkinton Police Association.

"This past summer I had the honor to run with Ernie Roundtree during the Final Leg leading up to the 2018 USA Special Summer Games," Crosman wrote in a statement provided by Roundtree's Special Olympics coach. "Ernie was a true heart and (soul of) Team 1 in the Final Leg. He is a global messenger as well as being an athlete representative 2011 and in 2016 was the chair of the Athlete Congress."

"Ernie told me his dream was to run the Boston Marathon," Crosman continued. "Thanks to the Hopkinton Police Association... Ernie will be running this year's marathon to support the Hopkinton Police Association as well as the Massachusetts and Pennsylvania Special Olympics."

"Please help us bring Ernie to Boston and make his dreams come true!"

Roundtree's Special Olympics coach, Gigi Rue, has worked with Roundtree since the time he first entered the Olympic events 19 years ago. Although she has seen her trainee run numerous events, including seven previous marathons elsewhere, she knew this opportunity would mean something special for him.

"Ernie had texted me to call him," Rue said. "So, I did. I could hear the excitement in his voice, but I wasn't sure what was going on."

"When he told me that he was the one selected for the marathon, I started crying. I was so happy for him. I know this is one of his bucket list items."

Roundtree began competing in the Special Olympics while attending East Stroudsburg High School South. Although initially hesitant to take up distance running, he eventually challenged himself to go farther and farther.

"It all started out in track and field," said Roundtree. "One of my inspiration Special Olympic athletes from York County was running a 5K run that day. My coach Gigi told us one of us was going to run distance. I was the first one that said, 'No.'"

"Years went by and then in 2007 is when I tried the one-mile run. Then, in 2009 was my first 5K run."

More recently, Roundtree has competed in the Monroe County Special Olympics track and field long distance events, as well as cross country events during the fall. He also serves as assistant coach to the Monroe County Special Olympics floor hockey team.

When Roundtree isn't competing or training, he spends much of his time volunteering for the American Red Cross office at 410 Park Avenue, Stroudsburg. He also assists as a canteen worker during the Red Cross blood drives.

Currently, Roundtree does most of his training at the YMCA. He favors the elliptical for stamina and weight training for leg and core strengthening. Once warmer weather arrives, he'll start returning to the streets for his outdoor runs.

"I am very excited that this is happening," he said. "I would like to thank everyone who has supported me to get to this."

Crosman has organized a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for Roundtree's travel expenses during the marathon. That campaign had raised $825 of its $5,000 goal as of Friday afternoon. Donations can be made at https://fundly.com/bring-ernie-to-boston-2019

___

(c)2019 the Pocono Record, Stroudsburg, Pa.

Visit the Pocono Record, Stroudsburg, Pa. at http://www.poconorecord.com/

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 
Processing...


Driving   Walking/Biking    Get Directions