A Tribute to Peter Holmes

The Vancouver Falcons are very sorry to have to announce the passing of new member Peter Holmes.

Peter, 24, known as ‘Pete’ (and ‘Pistol Pete’ back in his native UK) only started training with VFAC in April, having moved to Canada from England to start his dream job as Communications Manager for the International Triathlon Union (ITU) in March.  However, the Briton quickly made a positive impression throughout the club, his passion for running and living life to the full proving infectious to everyone fortunate enough to come into contact with him.  He also very quickly excelled as a racer, making it into the Top 3 of the club’s 2009 rankings, 2nd in the 5k (15:36) and 3rd in the 10k (32:51).

Tragically, Petes life came to an extremely premature end when he died last Saturday (December 5th, 2009), following a freak snowshoe accident on Goat Mountain (near Grouse).  Pete was with two friends when one got into a bit of difficulty as they started to descend the mountain in treacherous icy conditions just below the summit.  The courageous Master Holmes went to try and assist his stranded friend, but lost his footing and slipped, falling 400m down a cliff-face onto a frozen Kennedy Lake.

Tributes have been pouring in for Pete both sides of the Atlantic, many being left on the social networking site Facebook – both on Holmes’ personal page and a memorial page set up in his honour.  There have also been hundreds of tributes made on the UK-based runners forum Eightlane.com, which Pete founded.

The following maybe of interest to anyone wishing to know more about this outstanding young man:

* Pete’s blog posts about his time with VFAC

* Athletics Weekly obituary

* Daily Telegraph article

* Vancouver Sun article

* North Shore News article

* Eightlane.com runners forum (that Pete created)

* ITU Website


Meanwhile, below are some tributes – made on both Facebook and Eightlane – from VFAC members upon whom Pete left a lasting impression:


John Hill (Posted on Dec. 6th at 6:22pm)

Pete, you just touched our lives over this side for a brief time, but already we were making memories with an engaging, encouraging and enthusiastic person – and, oh ya, a damn, good runner! All too soon to be gone… but certainly not forgotten. RIP bud.


Kevin O’Connor (Posted on Dec. 6th at 9:04pm)

I’m still in shock, several hours after hearing this very sad news. Very recently, Pete and I bumped into each other on a run on the sea wall. We were running in opposite directions and, in such a situation, runners usually give each other a nod or say “Hi”. On very rare occasions, they stop and turn around to come join you. Well, Pete turned around, and ran further than he needed to… keen to help me out on my run, as I was struggling with the flu. Our healthy conservation about life, running, relationships and other worldly issues helped the run breeze by. I live on the other side of False Creek to Pete, but we often saw each other on the seawall. I ran past his place tonight, looked up at the brightly-lit apartment windows and dedicated my short run to him. It seemed the right thing to do. Your time with us in Vancouver and with the Falcons was all to short, but we [and I] will never forget you, Pete. KO


Brad Cunningham (Posted on Dec. 8th at 7:42am)

I ran with Pete in Vancouver. From the moment he joined our club, he made a lasting impression on everyone. A great training partner, runner, friend and person, he was affecting his Canadian community the same way he had at home (in England). He will be dearly missed over here as well.


John Atkinson (Posted on Dec. 8th at 11:18am)

This still seems completely surreal. I only trained with Pete 12 days’ ago on Vancouver‘s seawall when, as per usual, he was kicking our (his fellow Falcons’) butts. I never got to know Pistol that well, though in many respects we were kindred spirits; a fellow Englishman who came to Vancouver to live the dream. It takes a certain amount of passion, determination and courage to turn such a dream into reality and Pete had all three in abundance. That he was trying to help a friend when he slipped on Saturday says everything about the man. Fearless, selfless and an inspiration to everyone fortunate to cross paths with him. Rest In Peace, Pete — you really made a difference.

Phil Dickens (Posted on Dec. 8th at 12:50pm)

As a fellow Brit in Vancouver, Pete told me I should get on the 8lane website as all the serious runners and coaches from the UK use it. I took a look and saw that ‘Pistol’ was way out in front at the top of the usage leaderboard with over 1300 posts. That was funny. 1300 posts! During the summer we could finish a club workout and then look forward to reading about it on Pete’s blog. There are a lot very passionate people in athletics, but it’d be hard to beat Pete. A great guy to be around, and to be motivated by. He has obviously had the same effect everywhere he’s been.


(ON EIGHTLANE – the UK-based running forum created by Pete)…

Kevin O’Connor (Posted on Dec. 6th at 4:18pm)

I’m Kevin O’Connor, a Vancouver Falcon team-mate of Pete’s. It is sad and shocking news that his Vancouver friends received today. I posted the press report, although I realized how difficult it may be for some to read. We have very little news of the accident, but I do know that Pete was at (our regular) workout last Thursday, so most of the group got to see him before this very sad accident on Saturday. I’m a fellow Brit – from Cornwall – so if anyone requires information or there is anything I can help with, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ll aim to keep you informed of any news that we hear via this site.

We are all thinking of Pete. We have lost a good friend.



Paul Krochak (Posted on Dec. 7th at 11:55am)

I’ve been training with Pete in Vancouver since the early spring of ’09. There is not enough room on this page to say enough good things about Pete. Not only was he an amazing runner, his passion for the sport, life and his friends, was contagious. We all warmed to Pete instantly here in Vancouver. He was willing to sacrifice anything and everything for a friend – this was true not only in racing and training, but in life. You will be missed by all my friend.


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