Ben Harvey (BSc IMML (French) 2001) on how a group of Bath alumni are taking on the Bath Half in memory of his wife, fellow Bath graduate Katie.
I met Katie met on our first day at Bath in 1997, we were in adjacent rooms in the same halls, Quantock 1. Katie (née Buck) was one of the very first class of Sports Scientists to attend the University. She sadly passed away last summer. This weekend I, and nearly a dozen of our uni friends, will be running the Bath Half Marathon in support of Life in Full Swing (LIFS), an appeal I set up for two of Katie’s dearest charities.
We were together for almost 19 and a half years. Our two daughters already have their mother's zeal for life, although not quite her eye for sport, given Katie was a Guinness World Record holder for the youngest girl to score a hole in one, and a key member of the first XI Hockey team.
This weekend is the start of 18 months of challenges with friends to raise £250,000 for LIFS and there is nowhere more fitting to start than in Bath, where it all began. There are friends and family running halves and full marathons, Tough Mudders & duathlons. I have somehow found myself signed up to at least one of each of that list! Others are doing the Three Peaks, Three Lakes, London to Paris challenges, bake sales, photoshoots and gala dinners… some are even cutting off their hair to help raise money.
I’ll be joined by Sally Lee (née Bygrave) and her husband James, Beth Goucher (née Harker) and Anna Druce, who all studied Sports Science with Katie back in that inaugural class. Being part of that course was something Katie was immensely proud of, her final dissertation was even published after she graduated. Also there will be Nadine Welton (née Dicken, MLES), Vicky Smith (née Heal, MLES), Sarah Grant (née Peskett, Natural Sciences) and Marc Bruce (DBA) who all shared Quantock 1’s fun filled halls of residence with us. So many of that halls group have stayed such close friends over the years and as it turns out, those heady days in togas, at fries to go and lunching on the Parade, were just the start of some wonderful friendships. Tristan Garcia (IMML), Tobias Cooper (Economics), Jessica Cooper (née Lippett, Sociology & Industrial Relations) and Nikki Bruce (Pharmacology) were all equally dear friends of Katie at Bath and ever since, and a testament to what an infectiously happy and brave woman she was. They will all be there to run or support on the day.
The team will be loving every step… well maybe not every single one given the arctic weather forecast, but certainly thinking of Katie’s incredible spirit all the way to a celebratory pint afterwards for old time’s sakes. If ever there was an alumna who embodied the determination, courage, happiness and love of life that studying at Bath should give you it was Katie. She achieved a huge amount in her 38 years, her inspiration will last a lot longer. For anyone who would like to know more about the amazing causes, or to help support the memory of such a popular Bath graduate, www.lifeinfullswing.org is the site.
We will send a before (cold) and after (tired) shot for the alumni Twitter and Facebook on the day!