A fitting tribute for fallen RCMP officer and runner
Since it was unveiled in June 2016, the monument to the three fallen rcmp officers – Constables Douglas James Larche, Dave Joseph Ross, and Fabrice Georges Gevaudan – have often drawn mementos. Sometimes f lowers. Nadine Larche, Doug’s widow, goes weekly with their daughters to sprinkle sparkles. The three officers died in the line of duty in 2014 when a lone gunman went on a shooting rampage in Moncton, N.B., one of Canada’s deadliest attacks on the rcmp. All three of the officers had young families. Doug Larache was also passionate about running.
Sometimes Nadine goes more than once a week. “I feel peace there,” she says. “I feel closer to Doug.” The monument overlooks the trails that skirt Moncton’s downtown, alongside the grassy waterfront of the Petitcodiac river.
The Sunday after the Legs for Literacy Run, one of Doug’s favourites, where he ran his first marathon in 2010, someone had left a something new. A finisher’s medal.
“It was so touching,” says Nadine. Because, for Doug, “running was just part of who he was.” She remembers how, when they’d go for dinner at her mother’s house, he’d put a change of clothes in the car and, while the rest of the family drove over, he’d log some miles.
“I didn’t expect the crazy amount of attention. It really shows the impact that the three guys had on the city of Moncton. It was really touching, especially for our little monkeys, our little girls.”
Nadine helped to design the monument, and had included casts of several of his finisher’s medals – including a Legs for Literacy medal – and a pair of running shoes. (She also included a Castaway Cay medal from when the family went on a Disney cruise together, an outline of Mickey Mouse ears, “but if I had put them all in,” she says, “it would have been too much.”) The girls, she says, were very involved in the base of the monument. Three ballet slippers, one for each girl. They were 10, 9, and 4 when he died.
The family often would participate in runs as a family, with Nadine and the girls doing the kids’ run and Doug running the main event.
“I used to be a lifeguard, I used to run along the beach,” says Nadine. “I’ve done the clinics at the Running Room, the learn to run, the 5k. But for me, right now, I’m in an off cycle.”
Nadine says that she now knows who put the medal there, but she isn’t telling.
Brian Robertson remembers the first time he met Doug, at a small event alongside the river. After he finished, he stood at the finish line giving everyone else high-fives. “And that’s how I met him. I crossed the finish line, he gave me a high five, then said ‘ Hi, my name is Doug.’” Supporting other runners no matter whether he knew them or not was, says Brian, quintessential Doug.
“I was the clinic instructor at Running Room for the marathon he did, and I was a pacer for his group. I remember him saying, this was a long time ago, that a marathon wasn’t for him. He did one just to say he could, but it took too much for him to be away from his family.” Soon, a friendship evolved.
He wasn’t a “go-go-go” type of runner at all, says Brian. “For him it was pure and simple, go out and run and enjoy being outside.”
Brian, too, was touched by the anonymous gesture of the finisher’s medal. The whole monument is entirely apropos. While the other officers, who were not f rom Moncton, are facing their homes, says Brian, “it’s amazing. Doug is facing the trails.”— Jay Smith