LaHaie '02 Runs in Honor of Fallen Crimson Teammate

Published by Shayna Price on September 30, 2011 at 10:27PM

Harvard football alum Eric LaHaie ’02 (in red) is racing in the Sahara in honor of his late teammate and friend, Niall Murphy ’02 (dark blue jacket).

Harvard football alum, Eric LaHaie ’02, has headed to the Sahara Desert to race in honor of his late teammate and friend, Niall Murphy ’02.

LaHaie and Murphy were best friends and both All-Ivy defenders for the Crimson.

Murphy, who was also a hurdler on the track and field team, suffered from diabetes at a young age and passed away suddenly in February due to complications from juvenile diabetes.

Just 31 years old when he died, Murphy was remembered for not only being an exceptional athlete, but one with a helpful, energetic, and fun-loving attitude.

“Niall was my teammate, my wingman, and my best friend,” wrote LaHaie in a hepstrack article. “I have never met a more genuine and free spirited guy in my life. We were two peas in a pod, and I miss him dearly, as do all his friends and family. But his memory and legacy with always live on in our hearts and minds.”

Eric LaHaie is now a well-known endurance runner who has won races through some of the most treacherous domains, such as China's Taklamakan Desert in China and the Gobi Desert.

LaHaie’s next endeavor takes him to The Sahara Race 2011, where he will compete in honor of Niall and to raise money and awareness for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

“Niall was loved and cherished by us all, and I will be thinking about him a lot out in the desert and I know he will be there with me every step of the way,” writes LaHaie in his blog.

This seven-day trek, starting October 2nd, is named by TIME magazine as one of the Top 10 Endurance Competitions in the world. The race is a self-supported 250 km (155 miles) run over largely sandy terrain. The Sahara is the hottest desert in the world, and temperatures there can reach up to 122 degrees.

Nearly $13,000 has already been raised in Niall’s name for the campaign. You can go here to donate.

LaHaie’s has chronicled his rigorous training process on his blog, ending every post by saying:  “Run with your heart, not your feet. This is how Niall ran and lived.”