The Running Whys – The legacy of Const Doug Larche
It had developed into a Sunday tradition at Nadine Larche’s mother’s house.
When the schedule permitted a family supper, which was most Sundays, Nadine and her three daughters would drive to her mom’s home while her husband Const Doug Larche would – depending on the particular phase of his training cycle – run the 8-10 kilometre route, timed perfectly to coincide with the feast and, of course, what came afterward.
“Doug wanted to stay in shape, so he would run to my mother’s for supper,” Nadine explained. “Then he could have the dessert.”
He’d remain disciplined and not over indulge but the Sunday supper was part of his distance training in the Greater Moncton area.
“It was just a part of who he was,” Nadine said of his running. “He lived and breathed it.”
Const. Larche was one of three RCMP officers killed during the horrific events of June 2014 in Moncton and in the weeks and months that followed, many sectors of the provincial, national and international communities paid tribute to the fallen officers.
One of those was the running community, including those connected with the 2014 edition of Marathon by the Sea, which honoured Doug’s memory with the Red Mile, the first stage of the 20th anniversary edition of the race.
A year later, Nadine talks about Doug and the impact running had on him and the family in part because those thoughts represent positive memories.
“Doug was one of those people who, if he could do it, he would do it,” Nadine said. “He was very fitness oriented and he wanted to be fit for his job.”
As an RCMP officer, when he was on patrol duty, Doug enjoyed being able to go out with the Police Dog Service member when a call came in that required another member to run with them. This was a duty that required top fitness levels. It fit with his motivation to be in top shape and running fueled his progress.
“He was one of those runners who could do it and do it well,” Nadine said. “He was not a quitter, so he would keep going, even if it hurt.”
So over time, the sport became an integral aspect of daily life for Doug and the entire Larche family.
Nadine recalls the time they went on a Disney Cruise, a trip south with Doug and the three girls, their first time as a group enjoying Disney’s magic.
But there was more.
“Doug would bring his running gear wherever we went on vacation,” Nadine explained. “On that cruise, there was a 5 km run in the Bahamas on Disney’s private island. He ran that race. Running was incorporated into his day-to-day lifestyle.
“One year, we were in Vegas and he ran there too. Wherever we were, he would go out and run.”
Even with work, depending on where he was stationed, he’d find a way to get his training in.
“It was a part of him,” Nadine says. “He would go to work, drop his clothes off the night before, then in the morning, get up, run to work, shower at work and then be ready for his shift.”
It applied to all aspects of his life, such as arranging suppers for his young family so he could time a run either before or immediately afterward.
It applied to their dating days as well, when Nadine worked at Parlee Beach as a lifeguard and ran as part of her fitness regiment. Doug ran in tandem with her.
Nadine believes that Doug’s first official race was a Navy 10k event that his brother asked him to compete in Halifax, a 10 km distance. Nadine said it did not take long for Doug to get the competition bug after that event.
From there, he tackled many distances, with a fondness for the half marathon and 15 km events. And whatever the setting, he’d find a place to run.
The running connection is one of the reasons she volunteers with the 3km for 3 fathers each June in Moncton, which honours Doug , Const. Dave Ross and Const. Fabrice Gevaudan who were killed in the line of duty a year ago.
Doug’s connection to Saint John is strong. He graduated from high school in the city, it was his hometown and in 2009, he ran the Marathon by the Sea half marathon in 1:49.35.
The next year, he completed a 4:14 full marathon in the 2010 Legs for Literacy in Moncton and as time passed, his dedicated training led to some impressive results. For example, in May, 2014, he finished the Fredericton half marathon in 1:41:40.
“He had been in the best shape of his life,” Nadine said. “He dropped 20 pounds and it was not like he had to lose weight but he was a lean, mean running machine.”
Last August, Nadine knew it was important to attend the Red Mile salute on that brilliant Sunday morning in Rockwood Park and after the touching pre-race ceremonies, Nadine and her daughters stayed for a time to place medals around runner’s necks as they crossed the finish line.
“It was a run that Doug was actually training for,” Nadine said. “He had been talking about doing a couple of more races that season. Of course, I was missing that he wasn’t there and one of my friends spoke a few words that put your heart in your throat but at the same time, I was honoured that people were honoring him in such a way.”
Races Doug entered became family events. Nadine ran a few of them and even completed a triathlon. Their daughters would race in kids events held in conjunction with the big races their father participated in and even some of their own. Often times, the girls had signs en route that read ‘Go Daddy Go,’ as he raced toward the finish line.
“Wherever there was a run, they wanted to participate,” Nadine said of her daughters. “They liked it, they wanted to be like Daddy.”
For the future, Nadine hopes her daughters continue to participate in running events.
It is positive, she says.
In the lead up to this year’s MBTS, we also have profiled Hannah Arseneault, Todd Price, Erica MacMillan Carol Lynn Landry, Donald and Elspeth Lemon, Carolyn Radcliffe, Andrew Estey, Corinne Fournier, Kevin McEachern, Sherri Colwell-McCavour, Jesse Davidson, Jason Kaulbach, Jacqueline Boucher, Jen Payne, Mark Clinton, Patty MacMillan, Haley Adams-Green, Dean Mercer, Caitlin Stevens-Kelly, Carla Harris, Dave Horgan, and Krista Sutton.