Fund for athletes set up in tribute to Tash
The fiancé of a young Bath woman who was killed while on an early morning run has set up a foundation in her memory to support other young athletes and spoken about how emotional a tribute run next month will be.
Dave Bowler, along with a group of family and friends, is launching the Natasha Lewis Foundation – a charitable organisation which will support aspiring athletes.
Tash, 28, of Oldfield Park, died on the morning of Wednesday, April 7, when she was hit by a car while out on her daily, programmed run around Peasedown St John. She was a gifted sportswoman.
Dave said: “I know how hard it can be for young athletes who want to take their sporting careers to the next step as I saw that with Tash. This foundation will help support them through the process.”
The foundation will offer young athletes support like nutritional programmes, psychological support as well as coaching. It will be working alongside Team Bath Athletics, which Tash attended from a young age.
Dave said: “The foundation will help young athletes like Tash, people who have the whole package like she did – fully dedicated to their sport.
“It is quite a big step to do this and is amazing to keep her memory alive in this way.
“At first in the Gofundme set up following Tash’s passing we said we’d use money to get trainers for athletes who need them but when I reflected on this I realised I wanted to do more, so the idea of the foundation started.”
Dave and Tash spent the last eight years building a business, Get Fit in Bath. Dave explained it was more than a business for them both, it has been a labour of love and he is determined to continue it as a legacy to the woman he was due to marry on September 25.
The foundation will launch on September 5, the same day as a half marathon race in Bath in which 400 runners will remember Tash and mark the day.
The group was originally going to be taking part in the Bath Half marathon, which was cancelled due to coronavirus this year, but the group have now created their own half marathon at the Odd Down Cycle Track. Dave has made a commitment to Tash that he will run every event she had entered in 2021 and the Bath Half was on the list as a stepping stone to the London Marathon in October.
He said: “I couldn’t let Tash miss another race so it’s going ahead. I want to make it a yearly event for everyone to come together, those who are mourning her, where we can remember her and cover the miles she no longer can. It is a race she would have loved to take part in and I know she’ll be smiling down on us on the day.
“I am not a good runner but am doing it for Tash, my only aim is to finish, there isn’t a chance I’d ever be as quick as her as I only took up the running baton again after she passed away.
“Mentally I am strong, I want to run the whole thing although I am worried about the emotional backlash – it’s going to be a heavy day. I’ll have lots of memories of Tash in my head as I go round and I know she will be there with me.”
Dave credited the vast network of people who have been supporting him since Tash’s death for enabling him to be able to set up the foundation and the race.
He said: “It’s great to see so many people rallying and the amount who want to get it set up in a city which Tash loved and in which she and I both cherish the community so much.”