This past Tuesday night Shelley Gellatly lost her fight against cancer. She had beaten it once and afterwards participated in the MYAU in 2020. It had been looking good but at some point the cancer returned.
Shelley was part of the MYAU family right from the beginning. She was one of our first finishers in the 300 mile distance and got involved in many ways. She kept participating, helped us as a volunteer, a rep for Canadian athletes and by organising training and survival courses. Shelley was also a great local ambassador, motivating many Yukoners to give it a try and helping athletes from all over the world with advise on training and preparation.
When we are lucky we meet people in our lives who inspire us, who we can look up to and learn from. That is what Shelley was to me personally. She was always ready to help – no matter what and what time of day or night – you could count on her. Shelley was incredibly positive, too. Of course, like any of us, she would be disappointed about a DNF but she almost immediately looked at it as part of life and an important learning experience.
Like a common friend said yesterday „Shelley was a one in a billion“. And so I have been very sad and will continue to be sad that she is gone. It was another sentence that I read from one of the many people who knew her that actually made me smile, though. It was about her „distinctive laugh“. I had never really thought about it that way but I immediately had all these memories in my head of Shelley laughing about something and I could not help but laugh with her.
Of course Shelley would not want us to be sad. Just like she did not want us to worry too much when she had been fighting this terrible disease. I am sure she wants us to continue organising races and participating in them or whatever else it is that we enjoy and that challenges us. I like to think that she is up there now in the stars and looking out for us and cheering us on. One day we will hopefully meet again and we can run an ultra in heaven and exchange the many stories that have come with being a part of our race.
Our thoughts and love go out Shelley’s partner, Gary, all family members and friends.
Robert and the entire MYAU-family