Billingham Marsh House Harriers will always remember one of its top runners, not just for the amazing performances but the fact that Gavin Duffy had time for everyone no matter their level and was loved by all for his kindness and generosity. Tragically his life was cut short at 29 after a road traffic accident while on holiday in Dubai. The void left in the club has however been partly filled with three other members of Gavin’s family. Dad Michael, sister Lyndsay and brother Luke are all now members of the club. Susan, Gavin’s mother also joined a recent beginner’s group. All members of the family are racing regularly with Luke as the club’s superstar recording PB’s that have recently excided that of his big brother.
His apprenticeship in sports coaching has also led to a tough training regime for his dad and sister. Their stories: A keen sportsman Luke excels in all areas and running is no exception, already an excellent runner in in 2012 with a 20 minute Parkrun, at only 17 he is now running 16 minutes for 5K and recently set a PB of 33.33 for 10K, which are exceptionally quick times. Not only is he recognised for his athletic achievements he has been praised for raising huge amounts for charity in Gavin’s name who too ran to raise funds for organisations such as Butterwick Hospice.
Michael took up running so he could take part in a Memorial Run for Gavin. He was inspired by the warmth and friendship of the running community throughout the local area. Encouraged by youngest son Luke and brother in law Robin Hughes, Michael’s first session was around 2 miles at a gentle pace, eventually he managed to complete 5k and started to do local parkruns. Over the next year he took part in races up to 10k and joined BMHH with Lyndsay. This helped Michael to set goals and improve. After running for 18 months he completed the Great North Run. Running has given him and other members of his family the chance to run in Gavin’s memory and although it can be hard work he feels a lot fitter and is very grateful to be part of a generous and friendly running community. Having run very little previously, Lyndsay was inspired by Luke and her uncle who were doing the Great North Run in 2014.
The atmosphere looked so great she decided to sign up and raise some money for charity. Her friends were also interested so the girls entered to fundraise for the Butterwick Hospice in memory of Gavin and friend’s mum Gill Parry. With the help of Luke and Michael she started training, running on an evening in Manchester where she lived and parkrun when home. She struggled at first but really got into it when her times started improving. Lyndsay moved back home in May and joined the club. She found everyone was really friendly and attending helped her improve, get involved in other races and made sure she continued after the GNR. At 64 Michael is clocking sub 21 minute parkruns, something someone half his age would dream of achieving, with him and Lyndsay recently completing Manchester Marathon as a relay team.
Their entry was a Christmas gift from Luke. As a club we are very proud of the amazing Duffy’s an