Greg’ s Spirit Is Alive And Well

by altardy on October 24, 2009

To all of the people that have been waiting a while for this entry I apologise for the delay. I sometimes feel that there is a message that needs to be sent when I write. When I feel that way I will sometimes delay my entries until I get a grasp of what needs to be said. This is one of those entries and I only hope I can put into words what is on my heart.

So many runners come out to run road races, pay their 15-20-25 dollars, run the race and go home. Many races are run as fund raisers for very straight forward causes. A school might have a run to raise money for their golf team, to buy uniforms for the band, or to send students on a trip. A town might have a yearly race to raise money to finance services that have been cut due to a town financial crunch. There are many straight forward cut and dry reasons. But when there is a race that is in memory of someone, the surface beneficiary is not usually the reason the run exists. To those that do just run and leave, when there is a memorial race—I CHALLENGE YOU TO SEEK OUT THE STORY BEHIND IT’S EXISTANCE….

My example to you is the Gregory E. Reeves Memorial Scholarship Run on October 10th. The race is a 4.6 mile race. Since that mileage is a distance I had never seen run as a competition, my curiosity was up just by finding it online. The race is held in Townsend, Ma. about 90 miles northeast of my house. The day started very over cast but was clearing nicely where I live. The weather was, however, moving west to east and this meant I was driving back into the rain as I moved east. Upon arriving my normal 1 1/2 hours early it was a very drizzly cool day in Townsend.

The first people I ran into was an ROTC group from WPI lead by Carl Cowen . Always having a camera with me I went straight to Carl, explained what I was doing, and he helped me get the picture you see above. Carl also told me that he was hoping there would be a larger turn out than was there at that time, hoping the weather wouldn’t keep people away. Carl was also able to clear up the mystery of the 4.6 miles, which I will explain shortly. The people that helped take our picture (Holly and Cynthia) were also able to tell me that I needed to explain what I was doing to Bill and Deb Reeves, Greg’s parents. I was able to track down a very busy couple and explain what I was doing so I could get a couple pictures and promote their efforts and the race. I am pictured with them in the photo above.

The runners began to line up (over 600 of them) and just as the race was starting the clouds moved away and the sun came out in a big way. It turned into a beautiful day for everyone and some of us are pictured in entry you will read after this one. There was tons of food and the comradery between everyone was great. The sun brought out the runners, the walkers, and the great spirits in everyone. With a bunch of new friends, and more food in me after an hour of talking and eating than I will admit to, I was back in my car and headed home with a head and heart full of memories.

Now for the story. Also for one of the reasons you need to not just come, run, go home especially for a run in memory of someone. Greg was raised in Townsend and came up through the school system. He was an athlete during his school years in Townsend excelling in lacrosse. After graduating high school he attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). Greg continued to play lacrosse in college on the WPI team. He not only played and trained hard at college but trained while home, also. While out running on a very rainy day Greg was struck by a car. He was able to get himself to the curb and an ambulance was called. Greg, however, died later due to internal injuries from the accident. He had a certain loop that he liked to run and that was the loop he was running when he was killed. It was this 4.6 mile loop that is now the course for the race.

Bill and Deb decided to keep their son’s memory alive by starting this annual race. Initially they were able to give a scholarship ( now$1,000) to a high school grad who would be attending WPI. Now, because of the support of the community, friends, and relatives the race has gotten large enough to also give another $1,000 scholarship to a student who is not attending WPI. Myself being a parent, and loving my daughter as greatly as I do, I hope I am never confronted with the same tragedy as Bill and Deb Reeves. But they have done, and will continue to do, great things to keep their son’s memory alive. I can see the love in them and all those that I talked to that knew Greg and/or knew his story.

To those that will read this entry I hope you never run, walk or read about a memorial race without finding out the reason for it’s existence or you will have missed the REAL story of the day.

To Bill and Deb and all those who knew Greg—I applaud what you are doing. And, as an outsider, I can tell you through what is now my own personal experience, Greg’ s memory and spirit is alive and well due to your efforts. I hope to return when my run is finished and experience all the love that I could feel in the air that day once again.

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