A very, very sad day

Hubby and I have met some truly wonderful people through this running and blogging lark.

One of them was Courtney Marshall, a charming man from northern New Hampshire whose enthusiasm for running was infectious and inspiring. A member of the Upper Valley Running Club, he thought nothing of doing multiple runs in a weekend, which is how he and my husband first met recently, during a triple-header (Hollis Fast 5K; Mt. Washington Road Race; Rib Fest Five Miler)— drawn together because they were each as crazy devoted as the other.

After that, we would see Courtney frequently at races in New Hampshire; like us he’d sometimes drive a couple of hours to get to an event. He was fast, and often dominated his age group. Sometimes he’d be accompanied by his lovely wife, Beverly, who like me was just getting into running and still finding her feet. Courtney always had his camera and would often snap a picture of Hubby and me just after I crossed the finish line. The two guys would look refreshed and recovered; I would inevitably look like a wreck. He’d have his photos up and tagged on Facebook before we even pulled into our driveway.

Courtney, Beverly, me, and Hubby at the St. Charles Children’s Home 5K on Labor Day.

He always gave me a “like” and a funny comment on Facebook whenever I posted a blog, which I always appreciated. I called him out in a post recently for pointing out that the NH 10 Miler I was about to run was a “roller coaster.” His reply: “Tracey, roller coaster as in thrilling, exciting and exhilarating! Glad you enjoyed the 10 mile ride. :)”

This past weekend, Courtney ran a 30K on Saturday and a 5K on Sunday—in a kilt no less! He was heading for the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 30, and had made plans with Hubby to run the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington at the end of October, a long-held dream. We were going to run with him this weekend at the WOW Fest.

So you can imagine how devastated we were to find out that he passed away very suddenly on Sunday night, sometime after he had been on Facebook posting about his latest running adventure earlier that day. Beverly took the trouble to message us individually to tell us the news. She also told us that his death was not related to running.

Courtney at the Vermont Mad Half Marathon in July. The second medal around his neck is an age group award. He amassed quite a number of those.

Courtney was a gentleman, and a really genuine person, which is so rare these days. He was quiet, thoughtful, funny, and warm. He exuded enthusiasm. He and Beverly acted as though we’d known them for years. It felt like we had. We are so lucky that both of them came into our lives.

The St. Charles Children’s Home 5K on Labor Day was our last run with Courtney. We of course didn’t realize it at the time. He was the one who told us about the fabulous running-nuns event and we just knew we had to do it. We decided to stay an extra night in New Hampshire that weekend to have dinner with him and Beverly and do the run the next morning. We’re so glad we did. That event will have special meaning for us now.

Farewell, Courtney. It was lovely knowing you, if only for a moment. Thanks for all your support, of our running and my silly little blog. Stride and Joy is a sadder place now.


20 responses to “A very, very sad day

  1. Oh wow – I’m so sad to hear this. My thoughts are with Courtney’s family and friends.

  2. I am so sorry to hear this news. I did not know him personally but I have seen him at a lot of races and even spoke about him to others. Thoughts and prayers for his family and friends during this sad time. If I can do anything PLEASE do not hesitate to contact me, again I am so sorry for your loss.

  3. It’s funny how you meet certain people and you just click. Friends are friends, no matter the duration. I’m so sorry again that you’ve lost someone so dear. I hope you’re holding up okay. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you. xx

  4. So sorry to hear about the loss of such a good friend to you and your husband! Your post is a great tribute as I could sense how much he and his wife meant to you.

  5. Sounds like a great man. Your post clearly describes your admiration of him. May he rest in peace.

  6. I didn’t know Courtney at all, but given your propensity to collect only the best people as friends I can see where he must’ve been remarkable. Your post is a lovely tribute, and I’m sure it will offer some comfort to Courtney’s family in a very difficult time.

  7. I am so so sorry to hear about your loss! 😦 He and his wife do seem like wonderful people. My thoughts and prayers are with Beverly and their family.

  8. So sorry for your loss. Sounds like he was remarkable man and your tribute to him is truly inspiring. Running takes us on journeys we never expect to take, and allows us to meet people we’d otherwise never meet. Thank you for reminding me of this today.

  9. He made it all fun
    Every time we did run
    Now his race is done

    Remembering Courtney at each race and giving everything I have between the start and finish lines will be a way to honor him.

  10. I also did not know Courtney, except through Facebook. He friended me after noticing my posts on other runners pages. He was always encouraging and supportive. I’m truly saddened to hear of his passing. Your blog helped me to know him a little better. Thank you for that.

  11. I amso shocked and saddened by this. I grew up with Courtney in Maine. Kindergarten through the eighth grade when he went away to private school. With the help of Facebook we had all reconnected with Courtney and we were all proud of his life dedicated to health. I am so sorry for his family. So VERY sorry. Wish I had gotten the chance to see him again.

  12. So very sorry to hear this news of your friend. He seemed like a wonderful guy, full of life, and it’s genuinely clear in your blog, you truly adored him. May he rest in peace. Take care.

  13. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, Courtney sounds like a wonderful man and friend, my thoughts are with all his family and friends. Hope that you and hubby are holding up ok xx

  14. A touching tribute to someone who was clearly a wonderful man and great friend, I’m so sorry for your loss and hope that you and hubby are holding up ok xx

  15. Runners make the best friends, so I’m not surprised Courtney made such an impression so quickly on you and your husband. I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to all of Courtney’s friends and family.

  16. Thank you everyone for your lovely comments!!

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