Schotz' run across state comes to Hartselle
By By Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
Eric Schotz’ quest to raise awareness of Tay-Sachs disease will come through Hartselle and several other southern Morgan County communities next week.
The four-day journey is being used to raise funds for the National Tay-Sachs &Allied Diseases Association, but for Eric Schotz the run is just as much a personal quest to honor his son, Elliott.
Elliott was born in November 2007 and was diagnosed last year with Tay-Sachs, a rare genetic disease without a cure or treatment.
The life expectancy for Tay-Sachs patients is from 3-6 years. The disease causes seizures, blindness, paralysis and a loss of motor skills.
Schotz’ run will begin at the Alabama-Georgia border near Mentone and finish near Red Bay at the Mississippi border July 4.
The runners - Schotz, Jon Elmore and Eric Charette - will run 50 miles each of the first three days. They will finish with a 29-mile run on July 4 that will bring them to the state line just west of Red Bay.
Schotz, several fellow runners and a team of supporters made up of family and friends will reach Hartselle on the second day of the run.
For Schotz, a longtime distance runner, the journey across the state is personal: his son, Elliott, was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs when he was just nine months old.
Eric Schotz hopes to raise awareness of Tay-Sachs disease and raise money for research with the Run Across Alabama. He and several fellow runners will brave summer temperatures as they cover the 183-mile route in four days.
Elliott will ride along with his father in a jogging stroller on several legs of the trip.
Hartselle residents will be able to cheer the runners on as they reach Hartselle on the second day of the four-day run across the state. The group expects to reach the Express Inn on Hwy. 31 at approximately 4 p.m.
The group hopes to start its runs before sunrise to try to avoid the mid-day heat. The runners will be leaving Hartselle at 4 a.m. the next day.
After a stop at I-65 at Thompson Road, the group will finish up the second leg of the run in Hartselle Thursday afternoon after coming north on Sparkman into the downtown area. The group will then start the third day by leaving Hartselle on Vaughn Bridge on the way to Moulton.
The runners’ progress can be tracked on-line at www.runacrossalabama.com.