Monday, June 02, 2008

Passing of a Friend

I received horrible news today that a good friend of mine, Chris Douglass, died in a head-on car crash over the weekend. Chris was so full of life and a total free spirit, which makes it come as a huge shock to me. In many ways he reminded me of Christopher McCandless, doing what his heart desired and not afraid to follow his dreams. His positive attitude and extremely outgoing and friendly personality made him hard to miss, and he touched the lives of many... including mine.

Chris was about to embark on an epic walk from Colorado to Maine. He was so excited about this trip, and we had been talking on the phone about it at least every other day for the past few weeks, often multiple times a day. When his walk was to be over and he returned to Maine, we made plans to run the Vermont 50 again together, a race we did together in 2006.

His girlfriend, Amy, was driving him to a campsite the day before Chris was to begin his trek, when a drugged up punk speeding in an SUV swerved over and hit their car head-on. Chris was killed instantly. Amy is currently still unconscious and in critical condition as I type this.

Chris loved running, and just plain out loved to be alive and live life to the fullest. It's a big loss for all those who knew him, and a big loss for those he would have met if we were still alive.

More on Chris and his trek.

Local news article.

Another news article.

Chris and I. We were about to go flying with his Dad over the Vermont 50 course:

Pic I took of Chris in the plane:

Chris at our campsite when we ran the MDI Marathon in 2006:

Chris at the "Mile of Champions" tree along the MDI Marathon course:

Chris at Somes Sound:
Chris with some of the Trail Monster gang:
Chris running:

11 comments:

Alpal said...

Really sorry for the loss of your frined

UltraFlash said...

My prayers to you and to Chris's family.

Sarah said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. Truly tragic.

Dusty said...

My deepest sympathy. My thoughts & prayers to you, Amy and all of their family and friends.

mindy said...

This is terrible news, I'm so sorry. He sounded like a wonderful person we can all learn from - to love life and the adventures we create. Thanks for sharing your memories.

Damon said...

Jamie,

I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I've lost too many running friends over the years, including one to a drunk driver.

At times, when things are going poorly for me in an ultra, I often think of my deceased friends and remember that they can't run any more. This often reminds me how lucky I am to be alive and to be out there, even when it doesn't feel like fun.

In that way, I feel like I keep my departed friends "with me" and I honor their friendship.


Damon

Thomas said...

That's terrible, Jamie. What a tragic complete and utter waste!

IronMatron said...

I'm so sorry to hear this horrible news. It was nice to see the pictures.

Sparkplug said...

Jamie,
So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. Our thoughts are with you, his family and friends. From your photos and words, it seemed like he must have been a wonderful person. It is a great tribute that you will be dedicating your Western States run to him.
-Danielle

Runner NYC said...

I'm so sorry, Jamie!! I had no idea that you knew Chris. This wasn't the first time that I've heard him likened to McCandless. I know you'll be thinking of him every step of the WS 100 - it's a lovely tribute to his spirit and yours!!

Luc said...

I'm very sorry for the loss of your friend. He looks like a very fun guy. Know (really know) that he will be with you every step at WS100. I'm sure he's making his epic walk right now as I type this too. :)

Your post was a great (yet very small) way to celebrate his huge love of life and I'm sure it was hard to choose the right pictures and words to share his memory with us after such news...

My thoughts are with you and of course his girlfriend.