This has been a hard post for me to write, because I don’t feel like I have the ability to give this heartbreak and tragedy of two local runners the eloquence that it deserves. But, I know that you, the running community, will see beyond these feeble words, and will join together to help a fellow runner in need.
Florence and Roger Muma had known each other since they were children, began dating in high school in Hood River, got married and became residents of Clark County, and have had three daughters and nine grandchildren. They have been married for 43 years, and have been very active in the running community, both as participants and as support, cheering the other on at countless events. Florence and Roger have been inspirational to many as individuals, as runners, and as a couple–they embodied warmth, love, strength and compassion.
On the morning of January 10th, I saw Florence and Roger at the Resolution Run in Battle Ground, and chatted with them a bit before the race began. It was a chilly but clear Sunday morning, and Florence had been sick with a cold, but was planning on taking it a little easy during the race. Roger was there to support her. Although he was also a runner, his doctor had found fluid around his heart and had ordered Roger to discontinue running until further testing could be done. They left not long after she finished, and I didn’t see them again that day. I found out later that Florence had gone home to rest, but had to be taken to the hospital when Roger was unable to wake her. She remained sedated as they ran tests to determine and treat the underlying issue–a sinus and ear infection which had spread to her brain. While she was recovering in the ICU the day after the race, friends and family sent Roger back home to rest. That night, Roger had a heart attack while sleeping, and passed away, just two days before his EKG appointment to examine his heart. Florence’s family waited until she was physically and mentally able to process Roger’s death, which they did a few days later.
The running community was eager to help in any way that they could. Countless Facebook posts were made, and people dedicated their workouts to Florence, so that she would have reminders of how much everyone cared for them both. A family friend and fellow runner set up a gofundme page to help with Florence’s medical expenses, a celebration of life for Roger, and to help Florence get back on her feet after Roger’s passing (he was a business owner and they lived primarily off of his income). Additionally, an untimed run, “Race to Remember Roger” will be held this Saturday at 9am in Battle Ground, on the same course that Florence ran before she fell ill. The event is free, but donations to the Muma family are encouraged.
Race to Remember Roger 5k
9 a.m. Saturday
Battle Ground Gardner Center, 1700 S.W. Ninth Ave., Battle Ground
Free. Donations encouraged (online at www.gofundme.com/8ehsb45w or at the event)