Running in Randy’s honour
Event to fund new scholarship in former teacher’s memory
Former Carbonear Collegiate teacher Randy Ralph touched plenty of people in his tenure at the school.
Either in the classroom or as a part of one of the many sport teams he coached, Randy gained the respect of many students, parents and colleagues in that span. Outside the classroom, he was a renowned advocate for the sport of wrestling in this province.
“I had a lot of respect for (Randy),” said current Carbonear Collegiate teacher Pamela Whelan. “He left an impact on me.”
On April 19, he was killed in an automobile accident on the Trans Canada Highway near Butterpot Park. He was 52-years-old.
Just a couple of weeks after the funeral, Whelan and others like Edward Jarvis and David Kennedy came up with a way to honour the memory of their friend and pay tribute to the work he loved doing.
With that, Randy’s Run was born.
“I thought to myself what was a way we could start a scholarship in Randy’s name and everything he stood for and who he was,” said Whelan. “I’ve been running a bit lately and I know a running race is pretty easy to put together and it’s something everybody could do.”
When news of the impending run hit the Internet and social media, spots started filling up. There were plenty of people looking to run in honour of their coach and friend.
“It wasn’t even a decision for me if I should run or not,” said former student Brandon Parrott. “Running was something that coach Ralph had dedicated so much of his time to for me, and so many others that it was a no brainer to run in a race dedicated to him.”
Plenty of others felt that way too. Some 90 athletes came out to Randy’s Run on June 18. Not just runners either. But walkers, bikers and any other mode was welcome by organizers.
A First Nations drumming band played as participants took their mark and prepared for the five-kilometre track.
“It was a lovely morning. It was a bit chilly, so everybody gathered in the school and had a chit-chat,” said Whelan.
“It was like a big reunion. It wasn’t only people he had taught. It was people he had met.”
Parrott was as close to the Randy and his family as anyone. They first met when Parrott was in elementary school in Heart’s Content.
Randy would hold indoor soccer at Holy Trinity High in Heart’s Content, which Parrott attended. There, he got to know Randy’s son Andrew Ralph and the two became close friends.
“Since there wasn’t many kids in the my community my own age, my parents would drive me to Heart’s Delight to hang out with Andrew. Here Randy would play soccer with us, chase us through the woods playing laser tag, and even take us to the wharf conner catching,” he said.
That connection continued at Carbonear Collegiate, where Randy taught Parrott in a number of subjects and coached a number of teams he played on. He stayed close to the Ralph family, even staying there on occasions when weather made the Heart’s Content barrens hazardous.
It was this connection that made the decision to run so easy.
“It was an honour to run a race in memory of coach Ralph,” said Parrott. “They always treated me like family, even inviting me on summer trips to spend time with their family in Grand Falls. I guess you could say that I knew Randy and the Ralph Family my whole life.”
Whelan said the run raised $2,200 dollars that will be used for the Randy Ralph Memorial Scholarship at Carbonear Collegiate. It’ll be given to the student who best exemplifies the qualities exhibited by Randy.
There are also plans to register the event with the provincial running governing body and make it a yearly thing.
“I felt good doing (the run) and being able to carry on his legacy,” said Whelan.
“I could never say all of the things I wanted to say, but the run does.”
“It was an honour to run a race in memory of coach Ralph.” Brandon Parrott