Members of the Semiahmoo Peninsula sports community are mourning the sudden loss of Randy Ellis, who died Saturday while competing in a Tough Mudder race in Las Vegas.
He was 61 years old.
Ellis was a longtime coach, and was the president of Semiahmoo Rock lacrosse association. He had previously served in the same executive capacity for the White Rock-South Surrey Titans football association.
He was competing at the Tough Mudder endurance race alongside his son, Connor.
“This is a massive loss for the community,” said friend Pat La Roue, who knew Ellis for 10 years and whose sons both played lacrosse with the Rock association.
“People like Randy, who volunteer so much time… anytime you lose someone like that, it’s tough. There aren’t a lot of people like that anymore. He was a friend to a lot of people.”
On Monday, the Semiahmoo Rock executive posted online about Ellis’ passing, noting he was “walking and laughing with his son,” when he collapsed, and paramedics were unable to revive him.
“Please take comfort in the fact that he did not suffer, and his smile and energetic spirit will be forever remembered by us all,” the statement reads.
“Family always came first to Randy, and we ask you keep (wife) Angie and their tribe of boys in our thoughts & prayers during this difficult time.”
Ellis’ son Aidan, 19, said his dad “was the greatest guy who just loved giving back.”
Aidan said his dad was a fitness buff who loved to compete – a trait that drew him to events such as the Tough Mudder.
“He was competitive, and always wanted to prove that he was the best in his age group,” Aidan said. “He’d do these Tough Mudders with Connor, who is 27, and he didn’t want him to beat him.”
Coaching and volunteering with youth sports associations was his passion, said Aidan, who was coached by his dad, as were his brothers and step-brothers.
“He’s been giving back his whole life. When he was in Grade 12 growing up in Richmond, he coached my uncle’s Grade 9 football team. He was always coaching – he couldn’t not do it.”
A GoFundMe campaign (https://www.gofundme.com/f/3cw6z-help-the-ellis-family) that was created Monday to raise money for his family had already crested $11,000 by Tuesday morning.
On the GoFundMe page – created by Ellis’ sister-in-law – the father of six is described as “a son, a brother, a dad, a husband and a coach.”
“He was a mentor and shoulder to lean on,” wrote Andrea Viskoc on the site.
“He was everyone’s friend and always smiling. You could always depend on him for a joke, a laugh and a funny story.”