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SOUTH JORDAN — Randy Treglown spent his days convincing angst-ridden teenagers that physical fitness could enrich their lives.
His effectiveness wasn't just in astute teaching tactics or thoughtful lesson plans; it was in the way he lived his own life. He could persuade young people that exercise was a gift that would bless their lives in many ways because it had enriched his.
It is both comforting and agonizing to those who loved and admired him that the 51-year-old teacher was killed while jogging to school the morning of Nov. 28, just as he did every morning. It is to honor his life, to help his family in the wake of his death, and to raise awareness about runner safety that his friends, colleagues and former students have organized the Treglown Memorial 5K this Saturday at 9 a.m. at the South Jordan school where he taught.
"The accident really affected a lot of us," said Corbin Midgely, who once was a student of Treglown's and now works at Elk Ridge Middle School. "We miss seeing him around the halls. He was always smiling. He never had anything bad to say."
Treglown's career choice was about as far from glamorous as one gets — a middle-school P.E. teacher. In his spare time, he coached the school's basketball team.
And it may seem he spent his time teaching skills that one could easily live without. But Treglown understood that sports can help young people learn more than how to dribble or rebound a basketball. He knew that when students ran farther than they thought they could, they were shattering more than physical barriers.
He dedicated himself to that purpose with the kind of commitment that defined his life and will transcend his death.
His lessons weren't just about why daily exercise is good for the body. They were teaching future leaders how discipline, hard work and a positive attitude could help them navigate even life's most difficult terrain.
One of Treglown's former students posted a letter the coach had written him at the end of a season.
"Stay happy, work hard, and you will be successful at whatever you choose to do," Treglown wrote to Brady Haider. Not a single mention of how his fantastic basketball skills would make him famous, rich or entitled; just a simple axiom from a man who knew the value physical fitness could add to life's journey.
"To this day, I remember him saying, 'Always end on a make,' so I always make a shot before I end playing basketball," said Jarom Jordan on a Facebook page memorializing the coach. "I am a better person because of Mr. Treglown."
There might not be many more difficult tasks than persuading preteens to enjoy a challenge. So many of people's teenage years are spent trying to get comfortable that the idea of creating difficult moments on purpose isn't just unappealing, it's terrifying. But that is what the coach encouraged students to do, every day. He didn't accept excuses; he just helped his students find a way to do their best, whatever that was.
"The ONE was always important to him," said Matthew K. Jarvis on the Facebook page.
Stay happy, work hard, and you will be successful at whatever you choose to do.
–Randy Treglown, teacher
Treglown's commitment to physical fitness, to taking care of others and to celebrating life by living it as completely as possible are the reasons those who love him will remember him by running for him.
Incorporating an activity he encouraged others to do into a memorial is the perfect tribute, as well as a teaching moment, organizers said. The first 1,000 runners to sign up get a reflective vest, something police said might have saved Treglown as he jogged to school in dark-colored clothing before sunrise on that wintry Wednesday morning.
The proceeds from the 5K will go to help Treglown's family, and the event is being organized for free with the help of the South Jordan Marathon and TriUtah. Registration can be completed online at treglown5k.regtix.com. Those who want to volunteer can go online as well.
The race begins at 9 a.m. and will end with a lap around the school he loved and the track where he encouraged students to endure something difficult in order to learn more about themselves.
In addition to thousands of grateful students, Treglown is survived by his wife, Kimberly, and three sons, Ryan, Aaron and Jordan.
Because he lived what he taught, the coach's lessons live on in the lives of his students, who point out over and over in tributes that he didn't just watch them struggle: he put on his running shoes and struggled with them.
"Coach Treglown was my teacher, coach, mentor and, most of all, my good friend," wrote David Jackson on the Facebook page. "He taught me basketball skills and life skills. He was a great man of our community. He is missed by thousands. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and boys. He always pushed me to be a better young man, and I looked up to him. Thank you, coach, for the life you lived and the example you set. You will not be forgotten."
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