Organisers from North Wales Road Runners Club are hoping to attract 400 athletes to their annual 5-mile Deganwy Dash race on Friday, May 29 (7pm) to help commemorate and celebrate the life of an extraordinary young man.
Rohan Ingley, who tragically lost his long battle with leukaemia in August 2018, aged just 17, is to have the running event renamed in his honour.
Joint race directors, John Hatton and Carla Green, said they felt honoured to be asked to take on this tribute race, and admitted feeling very humble after getting know Rohan’s family, and to fully understanding just what they had been through.
John explained: “Carla and I have organised this race for a long time, and from this year it will be in Rohan’s memory and will be called ‘Deganwy Dash 5-mile Rohan’s Run’.
“He suffered for three years, and after his first bout of treatment he seemed to be winning, but sadly, he eventually succumbed. He was an extremely talented and popular teenager.”
The picturesque race, which will start on Deganwy promenade, will take runners along the Conwy Estuary footpaths towards Conwy Castle, and then across to the RSPB Nature Reserve, before returning home via the reverse route.
Rohan, from Abergele, was a highly talented all-rounder, who excelled at sport and music, and was a very popular student at the King’s School in Chester. All proceeds from the race will be donated to CLIC Sargent and Ronald McDonald House, Cancer in Children charities.
Rohan’s father and mother, Sanjay and Aradhana, together with his sister Shreya, who are all doctors, were obviously devastated by his loss, but wanted everyone to know just how much Rohan’s short life was appreciated by so many people.
They thanked the race team for their incredible support and said they were very much looking forward to the event in May.
The family admitted they never fully realised Rohan’s popularity until he first started to become ill, and additionally, Sanjay praised the generous and continuous support for his young son from Rohan’s friends, fellow students, parents and teachers.
He confirmed: “We had no idea just how popular Rohan was until his illness. When he was having treatment in hospital, many of his school friends even arranged a sort of rota and often visited him, sometimes seeking help and advice, or popped in for a chat, and perhaps some help with their schoolwork. He was an amazing young man and never once said “poor me” or ever felt sorry for himself. He always wanted to help others.”
In March 2018, just a few months before he died, staff, pupils and parents arranged for a special fundraising “Open Mic Night” to be held at his school. The event was live-streamed direct to Rohan’s hospital bed, where together with his father, he eagerly followed and enjoyed the festivities.
Rohan’s parents were later presented with a cheque for £5,808 for Ronald McDonald House charities, a cause close to Rohan’s heart. Sanjay acknowledged: “These were particular charities that Rohan wanted any money raised in his name to be donated to.”
One of the event organisers, Dr Robert Byrne said: “The open mic event was an incredible manifestation of the love and support people had for Rohan.”
It was also agreed that after the end of the school year, a special prize would be named after Rohan as a lasting tribute to a valued student and former classmate.
His parents also paid tribute to their son, saying: “Rohan passed away on 3rd August 2018. Throughout his illness, he remained a smiling inspiration to all those who knew him and faced every challenge with such grace and maturity.
“Rohan was an exceptional person, and despite being on regular chemotherapy for leukaemia, and therefore missing his year 10, he still took his GCSEs by doing two years of study in one year, and achieved fantastic results.
“His achievements outside of academics included a Grade 7 for drums and piano, and he also played cricket for North East Wales county team, the King’s School team, and for St Asaph Cricket Club. Additionally, he had accolades in the past for karate, chess and even swimming, and achieved a gold medal at national level.
“He always impressed everyone with his resilience, bravery and sheer determination to make the very best of himself.
“Most importantly, Rohan was an amazing human being. His love, compassion, kindness and care for everyone was unparalleled. We have not only lost a son, and a brother, but we have also lost a great friend, a harmoniser, a problem solver and a techno-whiz. We miss him so much. We miss his energy, his kindness, and his lovely smile.”
A memorial service, held at the school in November 2018, was packed. Tributes were paid to Rohan by head teacher George Hartley, who said: “Rohan was a wonderful, brave and highly gifted student who embodied the very best characteristics we would wish to see in a King’s student.
“His loss has had a profound effect on everyone in the King’s family. He will always be remembered as an outstanding student and a first-class young man.
“We all knew Rohan in school to be an all-rounder. He loved music and was an accomplished drummer, pianist and trumpet player, who also excelled at cricket. Even when he missed so much of his GCSE courses, he returned to school and gained reports and grades that were all A-star, and A1 for effort. He went on to achieve spectacular GCSE results across the board.”
The teenager’s name has now been commemorated at the King’s School, where the Rohan Ingley Centre has recently been built. This is a new pastoral centre utilising the latest state of the art facilities. It comprises an impressive medical centre, a learning support department, and a counselling service.
As a further tribute to Rohan, Welsh opera singer Sioned Terry, well-known for her prestigious appearances at international rugby events at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, will sing the national anthem prior to the start of the race, before running the event herself. Sioned was originally a music teacher, and knew Rohan.
Deganwy Dash – Rohan’s Run – online entry link: https://secure.onreg.com/onreg2/front/step1.php?id=4754
Joint race organiser John Hatton has also completed a YouTube tribute to Rohan Ingley, by writing a simple piece of music that was recorded at a friend’s studio.