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Dads Take Traditional Walk To Hasbrouck Heights HS Football Game -- 19.7 Miles Away

Ron Kistner (left), Bob Salerno
Ron Kistner (left), Bob Salerno Photo Credit: COURTESY: Ron Kistner, Bob Salerno

An educated guess told Ron Kistner that a quick stop lay ahead for him and buddy Bob Salerno more than halfway through a personal-record 19.7-mile walk to the Hasbrouck Heights/Butler high school football game in Butler on Friday.

“Two middle-aged guys,” Kistner told Daily Voice. “Sooner or later, nature’s gonna call.”

Kistner, a Hasbrouck Heights councilman and Allendale DPW director of operations, began walking to his son’s road games in 2011.

Salerno, a Lodi police lieutenant, has joined him on several jaunts -- or treks, depending on your perspective.

Their boys are out of school, though, so this time Kistner suggested they do it for charity.

Kistner hopes to raise $985 each for Autism Speaks in New York and Princeton, and Chicago-based CURE, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy.

He set up two separate GoFundMe pages:

As of Friday afternoon, they'd already gathered $1,340 of the combined $1,970 goal.

“I feel good,” Kirsten said, as the pair marched along Hamburg Turnpike in Wayne around 1:30 p.m., five hours after they set out.

Butler was still a good three hours away.

“We stopped for a little pasta and Gatorade on Hamburg Turnpike, grabbed some waters for backup,” Kirsten said. “It's not our first rodeo. We’re prepared.”

“And the weather cooperated this time,” Salerno added.

It was 80 degrees one year when they missed a turn just after the Teaneck Armory on the way to Cresskill and ended up in Tenafly, Kistner said.

“We had to circle back around to get there,” he said.

It poured when the Aviators played at North Arlington High School during Kistner’s son’s senior year.

“We still made it,” he said.

Kistner began the one-way walk seven years ago after he had trouble finding parking in East Rutherford for a Hasbrouck Heights game against Becton Regional.

Although the Aviators lost, it became a habit – then a tradition. It's taken Kistner, and sometimes Salerno, to Cresskill, Ridgefield and Saddle Brook, among other destinations.

Kistner has a good luck charm, of sorts: A pair of work boots that he’s used on shorter walks.

He wasn’t wearing them on Friday.

“Too heavy,” Kistner said. “My son’s bringing them.”

Instead, he had on a new pair of kicks.

In his pocket was a "mushy old piece of paper” that served as his GPS.

“Bob has his police-type gadgets,” he said. “I did it the old-fashioned way.”

The personal satisfaction for eclipsing Kistner’s previous record by six miles will be great, especially if the Aviators remained undefeated on the way to a third straight state title.

But there was also a personal reward for the two middle-aged pals.

Win or lose, as always, they'd be sharing some traditional Romeo and Juliet cigars.

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