Club's tribute to couple killed in MH17 disaster
ON THE morning that was supposed to be a welcome home breakfast for Dr Roger and Dr Jill Guard, the Toowoomba Road Runners instead ran in memorial of their tragic loss.
Yesterday's sombre run with a few laughs - because "that's what Roger would have wanted" - took place on some of Dr Roger's favourite running trails around the couple's Middle Ridge home.
The runners even took a detour along Flagstone Creek Rd to honour the doctor's beloved trail before they gathered to share memories of their friends.
Road runner Chris Gillett was the couple's next-door neighbour for eight years and said Jill had been like a surrogate grandmother to her children.
"She was the most wonderful grandmother and friend. She was in my life everyday."
"I haven't made a birthday cake for eight years.
"I was worried once I hadn't talked to her about the cake for my son Matthew's birthday and she said, don't worry he came down in July and told me what he wanted. His birthday was in October.
"Jill was someone you wish everyone had known in their life. She was the kindest and most giving person."
Mark O'Connell laughed about Roger's quirks and his penchant for broken shoes.
"Roger was a barefoot runner and his shoes always had holes in them. We teased him when he finally got a new pair of shoes. He took them off and we saw his socks were full of holes," he said.
"Even though he was a doctor he would repair the shoes with fly screen mesh and safety pins.
"He loved trail running and ran every club race, four times a week. He ran rail, hail or shine and even in thunderstorms. It was no worries for Roger."
Road Runners president Dennis Kalinowski had known Roger for 30 years and said he never had a harsh word to say about anyone.
"He was generous and open and a bit of a joker. He had a dry sense of humour. He never boasted about his achievements.
"He led an interesting life and worked as a doctor in the Antarctic and Cairns, and walked tracks around the world."
"We really are a close-knit club and it's like losing a member of the family."
Australian flags nationwide, including those in Toowoomba, flew at half-mast after the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 tragedy in honour of those killed.