Saturday Spotlight- Rich Ripke

I was always into sports from as long as I can remember. Baseball was my 1st team sport. In junior high I played soccer, Swam and baseball. Until 9th grade.


I was sitting in shop class. My teacher Mr.Prileau asked me what I was doing after school. I said I had swim team signups. He said you want to pass be here at 215! He was also the winter track coach! That day I met the track guys and girls. Jill, Wayne, Gluf Steve Rigby, Neil Hetherington, Ted Isoldi and lots more who would be friends of mine to this day.

The armory meets are memorable nothing like it is now. We ran on wooden floors. If you fell the splinters were bad.
I ran Spring track and played Baseball until my senior year, when it got to be very hectic. I dropped Baseball.
One memorable run was with Mike Rigby on a early Sept. night in 1979. We ran a six miler which took us on Round Swamp road in Bethpage. We were thirsty it was hot and humid. We ran up the 18th green of the Green Course to get to the club house for water. There was a fog hanging over the grass. As we got in it you could not see at all. We finally got high enough on the hill to see over it. Walked into the club house to get find the fountains near the bathrooms. There was a period party going on. Everyone was dressed in colonial garb right down to the wigs and red coats. The people ignored us like we weren’t there. We both thought the fog took us through a time warp. The run home was fast ๐Ÿ™‚
After being a sprinter for my 1st indoor and spring season, I dropped soccer and ran Cross Country. Which to this day is my favorite. I like the trails. We were a very strong team in all 3 seasons at Bethpage.
One real important season was my senior yr of spring track. This new girl came out for the girls team. Linda Perrillo who was a junior. She had on a real nice sweat suit smile emoticon. I finally got up the guts and asked her out and she said yes!
Our 1st date was the Vanderbilt planetarium laser light show. 1980 we met, and married in 1983. After a long distance romance I was stationed in TX, with no email cell phones or anything just once a week calls or letters in snail mail.
I joined the Air Force in 80, the whole Iran hostage thing really pissed me off. I got stationed in TX. Where it was hot! I ran at night then jumped in the pool.
In Jan 1983, I got orders to go to Germany to join the 602nd squadron in Turkiem which is between Ulm and Stutgart in the Swabisha alps. We started a running group there with a few people who went to races in Germany. I ran the Fulda marathon very hilly, Frankfurt half where I met Bill Rogers. I signed up early so I got bib # 3. The army was giving money to anyone who beat Bill. He saw my low # and came over to talk before the race. I told him you have no worries about me beating you. This race at one point ran up 3 or 4 steps and across a train station! Imagine glirc letting that happen.
Running in Germany was done mostly in sports Halle or tracks. So while I ran around town people would always slow down and ask if I needed a ride? There was a kindergarten class on our block in Geislingen, as I ran passed the kids would race me to the fence, fun stuff. I would run through the farm fields and small roads over there. You haven’t been nervous until 20-30 cows start running next to you! It sounds like an earth quake!ย The cows always stopped or turned instead of crashing through the fence.
One summer night I was running on little road through the woods and fields. In the dark I couldn’t see past the tree line on either side. I kicked a big rock with my toe which hurt. I stopped picked it up and tossed it into the woods. All of sudden I hear a guy yell dam Yank why’d you do that? The Canadian army had deployed for reforger, (which is war games done every summer in Germany) and were camped in the woods, all camouflaged up. We had a good laugh. My reforger was starting the next morning.
We got home in Jan 85. My cousin Pete asked me to run the summer series with him and his friends. Then we got together an ocean to sound team. These teams were fast we on the podium every year. Guys got older married and left. I kept it up with a much more calmer team where we run for the party.
Ocean to sound I’ve been through a lot there. Guys not making the hand off having to jump in, or guys pulling up injured on their leg including me this year on leg 8. The team always finished though.
I got asked to join the Glirc racing team a few yrs ago. That’s how I met Lou. He started talking about this old 10k course in Selden. Since I live there he asked if I knew anything. I told him yeah those hills are a bear! I’ve ridden on my bike but never ran them. He pointed out this blonde girl (Marianne) and said that they run the hills every Sunday, would I like to join them. Well, have you seen Marianne? I said yeah I’ll run. Just Lou Marianne and myself that 1st day on a cold morning. Now look at this group! Wow.
Lou you created a monster!
My next marathon will be my 23. The 1sty one I ran was NYC in 1979. My time was 3:04:47. I hope to finish a trail marathon soon.
Running has been a big part of me since I was 14. Lots of things get worked out on the run. Lots of real good conversations with a bunch of different peeps! Running with my dogs is really something I enjoy.
See you out there on the hills again soon.

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