It is with great sadness that we must inform you of Ernie Chalekson's passing. Yesterday, November 23, Ernie was running with the club on the Millennium Trail in Calabasas. It was a beautiful morning in a beautiful setting. We ran and chatted with Ernie for a long time, and then he ran on ahead of us, gathering speed as the rest of us tired. About 12 miles into a 14 mile run, he made one final climb, and unfortunately never made it down again. A small group of us were close behind him; we performed CPR, called 911, and watched in disbelief while a chopper landed in the adjoining field. Paramedics worked on him for some time before we helped load him onto the helicopter, but tragically Ernie was gone.
I know none of us will ever forget Ernie's warm personality and wonderful sense of humor. He was a tremendous people person and loved to talk and joke with everyone he met - first-timers, old-timers, and anyone he encountered on the trail. He was absolutely devoted to the club and expended enormous energy to provide all of us with a great trail-running experience. It's safe to say that many people remain connected to the club simply due to Ernie's personal magnetism. He is totally irreplaceable, but we will try our best to keep the club going with the same spirit he always showed. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife LaRue, his two sons and the rest of his family.