David Moore didn’t PR at the SCTCCCA Coaches Classic, but the Christ Church Episcopal School senior would tell you that he ran the hardest and most satisfying race of his young life on that Saturday.
Moore finished the 5,000 meters in 18:51, nearly a minute slower than his PR at that distance set at the SCHSL State Championships last year.
This year’s Classic wasn’t about David or the cross-country team; it was about doing their best for a teammate, a fellow class member and most of all a special person.
“We raced for Katy,” Moore said.
Judith Katherine “Katy” James died September 7, a day before the Classic, losing her long fight with Pontine Glioma, a brain tumor.
The team’s coach, Rodney Adamee, said though he and the team knew Katy was terminally ill, learning that she had died was still difficult to take.
“That Friday was an awful day at the school and we had to decide whether we even wanted to even run that Saturday,” Adamee said, “and if we did, what we would do in her honor.”
Adamee said he and the team talked that Friday about a number of ways to honor Katy at the Classic.
“We came up with all kinds of ideas but never settled on one,” he said, until the team showed up to board the bus to Columbia Saturday morning, each wearing purple ribbons.
Adamee said Justin Trenor, a fellow senior and close friend of Katy’s, came up with the ribbon commemoration.
“I thought it was very appropriate,” Adamee said.
Trenor said he chose the color purple “because it was her (Katy’s) favorite color.”
Adamee and the team first learned of Katy’s illness shortly after she was diagnosed with the disease in the summer of 2011. The coach said he was unsure at the time how he and the team should move forward. Katy continued to run with the team for a short time following the devastating news, but would soon have to give up the sport entirely.
“I was really struggling with what I should encourage her teammates to do,” Adamee said, “and I really didn’t have to do that because they did so much on their own; they didn’t need any guidance or leadership from me.”
After she was forced to quit running, her teammates held parties for Katy, took her out on the town and visited with her regularly, Adamee said.
Moore remembers meeting Katy for the first time two years ago while the two were rehearsing at Christ Church’s 10th grade musical.
“I had never spoken to her in my life other than a few times at cross-country practice, but she came up to me and was incredibly friendly and accepting,” Moore said.
He said the two would “bond” during cross-country season, and when Moore and the rest of the team learned of her illness he began thinking of ways to at least temporarily take her mind away from what she faced and to support her family.
Moore would put together Run Katy, Run, a 5K road race held at CCES. More than 300 people signed up for the event, which raised over $12,300 for Katy and her family. Photo gallery from Run, Katy, Run 5K
Moore, a senior at Christ Church, remembers Katy being “slightly embarrassed” over the volume of support the race generated.
“She was such a humble, modest person who didn’t want to be in the spotlight,” he said, “but I later learned that she really appreciated the effort.”
Adamee said Katy started running cross-country in ninth grade. “She wasn’t a great runner but she was a great team member,” he said. “She contributed so much to the team in all of the other ways. She made it fun for the rest of the team.”
Fellow senior Caroline Jennings said Katy was considered a friend to everyone on the team. “She gave 100 percent at every practice, every race, (but) we loved her the most for her quirky sense of humor and her contagious laugh which always managed to brighten everyone’s day.”
Katy’s family has asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Ellis Mayfield Foundation for the financial support of children and their families suffering from pediatric brain tumors in Upstate South Carolina. The address is 11 Parkhaven Way, Greenville, SC 29607, or visit www.ellismayfieldfoundation.samsbiz.com.