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.
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 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.