Saturday, October 22, 2011

This marathon was for Geri

Published on October 22, 2011


I recently participated in the annual BMO-Nesbitt Burns provincial marathon in Prince Edward Island. I've completed in this event a few times before and am aware this is a well-planned and publicized event. The scenery is unmatched and the contagious enthusiasm of the many volunteers keeps me excited. I'm from Newfoundland and I have always enjoyed racing here.

Less than two months ago, I experienced a major tragedy in my life. On Aug. 21 my common-law wife of 30 years died suddenly of a stomach aneurism at the age of 49. We had just completed our annual two-week vacation in our favourite place in the world - P.E.I. We arrived back in Newfoundland on the 20th and stayed in central Newfoundland overnight where we planned on travelling back home to St. John's the next day. My wife, Geraldine, collapsed at the breakfast table the next morning and passed away before noon. Geraldine was cremated and her last wishes were for her ashes to be spread in Prince Edward Island. We both passionately love P.E.I. and our fondest memories of our lives have been in this province.

This has been a major loss for me and I'm still having trouble accepting it. I dedicated this marathon to Geri and the tremendous impact she's had on my life. She has always been a huge supporter of my running and has inspired me in many ways. She made many sacrifices (e.g. household chores) while I was out training and always provided encouragement. When I finally qualified for my first Boston Marathon (I've completed two) she acted so proud. But I wanted people to know how proud I was of her because she never stopped believing in me. Anyone whose been committed to training for marathons knows the physical demands it requires. What is not often recognized is the emotional support of a dedicated spouse who doesn't lace up the sneakers. She was really the "wind beneath my wings."

So when I ran last weekend's marathon I felt an extra push. I've always run for fitness, fun and the thrill of competition. Geri, this race was dedicated to you.

Barry Ploughman,

St. John's, NL

Our deep condolences and warmest wishes Barry as you continue to run

with Geri in your heart, on your mind and keeping you in flight.

No comments: