Three generations plan to go the distance

Three generations of Gallants plan to run the half-marathon, or 13.1 miles, Sunday in conjunction with the GO! St. Louis’ 10th annual Marathon & Family Fitness Weekend.

“On occasion, we have children competing in a Fun Run (or the Read, Right & Run Marathon); the parent engaging in a 5K or the half marathon; and the grandparent entering the Mature Mile (adults over 60, with an average age of 78). This way, each generation earns medals and bragging rights,” explains Nancy Lieberman, executive director of GO! St. Louis. “However, for three generations to run a half marathon is not only highly unusual, but inspiring. It is a lifetime bonding experience that they will all treasure.”

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The patriarch of the Gallant clan is 76-year-old Paul Gallant, who first took up running at the age of 57. He now has 10 marathons, 20 half marathons and a dozen other competitive running events to his name, and serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of non-profit GO! St. Louis (he also is on the Jewish Light’s Board of Trustees).

As the story goes, Paul inspired both his son Steve, 50, and grandson, Richie, 20, to take up running. Although Steve has been at it for about eight years, he hadn’t planned to run in Sunday’s half marathon. But when Richie came home from Vanderbilt University on spring break recently and announced that he would run in the St. Louis event with his grandfather, “my father (Paul) basically commanded me to run in it as well,” says Steve, who lives in Chesterfield.

The idea that the three will actually run together is misleading, Steve adds, since it’s every Gallant for himself. He expects the three to finish in reverse chronological order.

“When I think that maybe this isn’t such a good idea since I haven’t really trained properly, I think about the three of us getting our picture taken together at the finish and that inspires me,” says Steve.

Richie Gallant jokes that when he mentioned he had taken up running to his father and grandfather, “the next thing I knew I had all sorts of running clothes and shoes. So I felt compelled to take it seriously,” he says.

The good news is that he actually enjoys running and has found a buddy at Vanderbilt with whom to train.

Paul couldn’t be more tickled at the prospect of having his son and grandson by his side, at least at the start of the race. “This is just a thrill,” says Paul. “It’s hard to explain what it means. Egotistically, it’s a thrill at my age that I can run with a son and a grandson. And there is proudness, too, that they love running like I do.

“What’s going to get us through this thing is the exhilaration of the three of us winding up at the finish line, even if I have to walk through it. The thrill will be my son and grandson waiting for me there.”

Teaching students

to eat right

Amy Peck Abraham is a terrific cook who in addition to making killer kugel (she was a finalist in the Light’s recent kugel contest) will be teaching teenagers about good nutrition and how to shop for and prepare healthy meals through a new program instituted by the St. Louis public schools. Students and the chef will also sit down to eat together before all join in the all-important after-meal clean-up effort.

The students all attend Alternative Education South, which was set up by Superintendent Kelvin Adams for teens who have had too much “friction” at their home or neighborhood school. This is its first year in existence; it was created as a way to keep teaching kids and not suspend or expel them. Classes are small and teachers are given great support, says Peck Abraham.

“I want to walk the walk,” she adds. “I have this (cooking) skill and I want to use it to help help others. Working in a St. Louis public school classroom is a privilege and I hope I can make a difference.”

Peck Abraham says the program is all about teaching teens “the power of eating right and how important it is to do so as they get older.” Other instructors in the program are Carolyn Feibig, a St. Louis University nutrition educator, and Mariella Funk, the program coordinator at Operation Food Search.

Matzah bust

In case you missed the great matzah caper that unfolded in Israel before Passover, here is a brief recap, thanks to JTA and the Jerusalem Post:

A week before the start of Passover, Israeli police raided a warehouse containing a 7-ton stockpile of matzah with fake kosher certificates, according to a statement from Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.

The rabbinate published color photos of the fake matzah packages ordering local rabbis to post the statement in synagogues and other prominent places to warn Orthodox Jews to avoid the faked product.

The fraudulent products were marketed in two different packages, one bearing a fake seal and the other with a seemingly genuine manufacturer’s label, making their detection more difficult. Some of the products were being sold at rock-bottom prices and even include labeled promises that all proceeds go to charity.

Fake matzah (as if the real stuff is that great)? Isn’t anything sacred anymore?