CHARLOTTE – The Charlotte Country Day School community is mourning the loss of track and field coach Murtonda Durant, who passed away Aug. 23 at the age of 54.
Durant was an All-American track star at UMass Boston from 1984 to 1989. She helped the Beacons win indoor and outdoor national championships. She also won titles of her own. Her 4X400 relay team won four NCAA titles.
She had been part of Country Day’s track program for 10 years. She joined the cross country staff last fall.
Al Pearman, head track coach at Charlotte Country Day, was among several speakers paying tribute to Durant during a memorial service held Aug. 30 at New Waves of Joy Baptist Church in Charlotte.
Pearman credited Coach M’s love, devotion and insight for helping lift the program.
“I’m convinced that God gifted her with an extraordinary capacity to care, because she cared passionately about everything and everyone,” Pearman said. “The track and field program was better because of it.”
Durant’s passing reminds Pearman of the importance of living each day to the fullest and learning from the lessons God is teaching you through the people he puts in your path.
He read from the New Testament’s Second Epistle to Timothy.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
Several others spoke during the service, including some young people. One young man spoke of how Durant saved his life.
Others spoke about how she inspired them through encouragement and support.
Loved ones spoke of how she put family first. She was the one that would bring family together. She had a knack for listening to the older generations as well as connecting with the younger ones through sports.
The Rev. Reginald Murray recalled how he received an email Aug. 22 from Durant about how much she missed seeing the smiling faces of Murray and his wife at church services. Durant passed the next day.
Murray acknowledged how race analogies came naturally during the service.
“The race isn’t a sprint, not even a marathon, but more like a relay, because she has now finished her leg of the race,” Murray said. “God took her away really at an opportune time for all of us when we’re ahead of the race because we got to meet Murtonda Durant. She has passed on to us everything we need to finish the race.”
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