Monday 13 November 2006
it was a quiet day. i didn't know what to say or do, so i ended up doing little of either. last time someone i knew well died it was my grandfather and he was 4000 miles away. it didn't really sink in until i was there, but i am here now. and the pain is now.
i can't really say enough good about bobby. when i met bobby, he took a sickly, semi-fit runner onto his team. bobby saw moments of brilliance in me that most people never have, and he hoped in them. he was encourager, motivator, friend, coach, and even sometime parent when needed i remember the firey man on the side of the track telling you to stop girning and get moving. and that same man putting his arm around my shoulders and cutting the training short the day i was dumped.
my first race for him was at university of maynooth. it was wet and i was nervous. a one mile loop. i was opening the relay. bobby told me to start sprinting when he shouted 'go'. mintues later i heard, "only 200 metres, GO!" 200 metres? Rubbish! it was really about 600, but by this time it was too late, i was already sprinting. bobby knew you had it in you even though you didn't know it yourself, and he was prepared to train and shout it out.
he was strong. very strong. always "struggling along" until a couple weeks ago. he was "struggling on" and was told, "yeah, but bobby, you're always struggling". "well this time i really am" was the reply. then the team knew it was serious.
6 weeks later he was gone. for most of us, we knew thursday he was going fast, but we all thought he'd be back monday like he promised. standing on the track saturday morning we signed a card he'd never get, and talked about training he'd never be at, races he'd never see. sunday afternoon my mobile rang. i knew the ring tone. it was the 'runner' one. i was crying before i even answered. it was true.
the doctor said the reason he lasted so long was that his heart was really strong, but for us, it wasn't long enough. and now, for Caroline, Neil and Tina, it'll never be enough. but we'll all continue to "struggle along." like he would have wanted.