Run­ning in Randy’s hon­our

Event to fund new schol­ar­ship in for­mer teacher’s mem­ory

The Compass - - RECREATION - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER TC ME­DIA nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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.”

An hon­our

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

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