SAINT JOHN – A different kind of starting signal marked the start of the Marathon By The Sea on Sunday. Instead of a pistol, two police cars — a cruiser each from the RCMP and Saint John Police — sounded their sirens.
It was part of a special tribute to Codiac RCMP Constable Douglas James Larche, who was one of three officers murdered in Moncton in June.
A moment of silence was held before the race, and the first mile was dedicated to Cst. Larche, with red ribbons and a painted red line marking the “red mile.”
“Doug loved to run,” his widow, Nadine, told Global News. “He spent a lot of his spare time running. He was very motivated in keeping in shape and going out running. Each one of our girls also likes to run too. They’ve all had their turn in a running stroller being pushed around by daddy.”
Cst. Larche grew up in Saint John and had run this marathon before. Nadine and her daughters always watched him as he raced and they were at the Saint John marathon on Sunday.
“It has a good feeling coming to Saint John,” Nadine said. “This was Doug’s hometown. He grew up here. He graduated from high school here [...] and we came here relatively often because he liked to show the girls where he grew up, and show them where he went to high school and where his houses were.”
The last time Cst. Larche’s colleague, Cst. Christy Elliott, saw him, they were out on a run together.
“My daughter was in a stroller and she kept kicking the blanket off,” she said. “Doug, as the devoted dad he is to his three little girls, he would pick up her blanket and put it right back on her.”
Cst. Elliott had run in the race last year and was planning to run it again this year, but changed her plan after the June 4th shooting. Instead, she donned her red serge and participated in the ceremony– standing at the starting line before the race began.
“It was important for us to be here in this capacity as a supporter as opposed to a runner this year.”
In the tents in the runners area, a group of volunteers sold red bracelets for five dollars to raise money for the families of the three murdered officers. Many runners donated much more.
Some runners, like Chief Rod MacDonald of the East River Fire Department in PEI, chose to wear ribbons during the race.
“As a firefighter, we know we both fight different kinds of battles,” said MacDonald. “I’m in support of that and my three uncles — two of them were RCMP officers and one was an OPP officer. I’m in support of them too.”
RCMP officers from across the province and police officers from both the Saint John Police Force and the Kennebacasis Regional Police Force stood at the finish line of the race, putting medals around the necks of each runner who crossed the finish line. For a short time, Nadine and her daughters also stepped in.
“The last time he did this race was five years ago,” Nadine said. “I was pregnant with our youngest and the two older ones were here cheering daddy on. So this time around, all three of us are here and we wish daddy was here with us.”
© Shaw Media, 2014