This year’s Run Bedford race, which took place on 2nd June, was awash with green when over 130 runners from the Bedford School Community formed #TeamGarrett and ran 10k in memory Richard Garrett. It was a wonderful turn out – runners, volunteers and supporters all gathered for this very special event. We thought we’d give you the chance to read this poignant email Emma Garrett shared with us following the event:
I mentioned in my previous email that I had been ‘reflecting’. It seems strange to use that word. I know Rich and I looked quizzically at each other once after a speech or sermon that assumed we did just that: “when you sit down and reflect at the end of the day…” our speaker urged.
It was about 10 years ago. BC. Before Cancer. We were at a stage in our lives where we had very little time for reflection. The end of the day was the time we collapsed into bed together after a round of post-school activities, dog walks, feeding time at the ‘zoo’ and a frenzied evening routine of homework-time, bath-time, story-time and bed-time x 5. Newly arrived in Bedford, fresh back from our ex-pat adventures with our young family in tow, we slowly settled in and found our way, looking forward to a new chapter in a new town, but with very little time for sleep, let alone reflection.
It is only now, since Rich died, that I seem to have inadvertently had reflection time thrust upon me. I wake in the early hours and this is my thinking time. Training for Sunday’s 10km also gave me plenty of time to reflect and having woken at 5 this morning, I just wanted to share a few thoughts about Sunday with you.
How Rich would have loved it! The running, of course; he would probably have finished ahead of most of us, but especially the end bit where people were chatting, drinking, networking, laughing and celebrating something amazing that they had all achieved. He’d have loved the efficiency of Tamsin, Amanda and Paula’s organisation, the delicious pink fizz (his favourite) and the strawberries.
He’d have been so very proud of his 5 incredible children – 4 of whom ran the race and Tessie who cheered and clapped and shouted and motivated the runners with her typical enthusiasm and cheeky good humour. India running with Bee, the daughter of Sarah, a friend made in India in his year off, 33 years ago. Josh finishing in 46 minutes. The same Josh who is 20 today and who so nearly died at birth – a ‘strong and courageous’ boy (Joshua 1:9). Toby and Sam whose impressive and all-consuming revision timetable was rather reluctantly set aside for the morning so they could take part. He’d have been moved by the tenacity and strength (it appears to be a genetic thing) of his niece Lara, my wonderful goddaughter, whose own father died just two and a half weeks ago, and whose funeral is on Thursday.
He’d have been so very touched that all of his team from work took part (I hope they won’t mind if I reveal here that their WhatsApp group name is ‘Rich’s Bitches’, he never knew!) and that Bedford School was represented not only by the Head Master but by the Vice Master, Headmaster of the Prep School and his wife, members of staff, teaching and support, parents, past parents, Old Bedfordians, current pupils and Toby’s amazing cohort of U6 formers who are the most incredible group of boys and whose special friendship to Toby and all of the family is so very precious.
Such a tribute to the man and the impression he made on so many who wanted to run for him, some of whom he’d never even met, some of whom are in the middle of their own cancer journeys.
Rich would have been so humbled and really quite shocked at the number of people that embraced this challenge from all walks of his life, to remember him; friends, neighbours, countrymen….he’d have loved that whole families took part, often taking themselves right out of their comfort zones and that the rather wonderful Lindsey Carman powered in, with a smile on her face as the final participant, ensuring, as he always liked to do, that everything was in order and no one was left behind along the way. He’d have been astounded by the amount of money that has been raised in his name so far and by the incredible fundraising challenges that are taking place in his name in the coming months.
A year ago Rich bought me a ring with five gems – one for each child. When he explained the significance of this, the jeweller said to him how lucky he was to be celebrating my 50th birthday, 25 years of marriage and 5 incredible children. Rich was undergoing treatment and knew he was dying but he agreed that yes, he was indeed a very lucky man.
And how lucky am I, in his absence, to have all of you, surrounding me with love and support, wrapping your arms around Family G, metaphorically and physically, and living life to the full. Just as Rich always did. Carpe diem team, thank you for everything and I look forward to seeing you same time, same place next year!
If you would like to donate, you can do so here: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/richardgarrett