Last Tuesday, January 7, 2014, was the two year anniversary of the death of my cousin, Sherry. Sherry lived in Sidney, Montana and had gone out for an early morning run when she was killed by two men. I won’t get into their story because it’s pathetic and not deserving of attention here. What is deserving is honoring and remembering Sherry.
Sherry’s story was heard around the world and truly resonated with people. As a teacher, mother, wife, runner, friend, and daughter, Sherry’s tragedy became personal for many people. Many of us thought, “That could have been me.” Some of us changed our approach to running safety. Every mother out there shivered at the thought of leaving their children behind in such a horrific manner.
Hundreds of thousands of people participated world wide in a beautiful Virtual Run for Sherry on February 11, 2012. I got emails from Thailand, Egypt, South Africa – every corner of the earth essentially. It was a day of brightness, hope and love.
And, then, sadly enough another running tragedy emerged this week. A story very different from Sherry’s yet with the same ultimate end result. Meg Menzies, a 34 year old mother of three children. was out for a morning run on January 13 in Richmond, Virginia, when she was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Meg, an avid runner, was training for the Boston Marathon in April. Again, I feel this could have been you or me.
In Meg’s memory, the Richmond Road Runner’s Club is sponsoring a virtual run for her. Their encouragement of people to run that day is heartfelt:
“This Saturday, January 18, 2014, no matter what your distance, no matter where you live, run for Meg. Take in the fresh air, be aware of your surroundings, keep your headphones on low, feel the heaviness in your lungs, the soreness in your legs, and be grateful for it--for all of it. The sweat, the pain, the wind, the cold…everything. Be grateful for that moment.”
A Facebook page called Meg’s Miles has been set up HERE. Please visit to get more information about this run and get out there if you can. Our hearts go out to Meg, her family, her friends and her community.
When these tragedies happen we get scared. We hurt. And then we hopefully remember that everything in life, every step we take, is about accepting risk. Many said that Meg died doing what she loved. We can’t let risk and fear stop us for doing what we love. We press on, regardless, with heavy hearts, but with courage.
Obviously, in no way did Sherry or Meg do anything wrong or have any fault in what occurred. Yet, these instances give us a chance to remember that we need to keep ourselves as safe as possible –to never truly let down our guard while we are running. I am re-posting parts of an article I wrote two years ago about this subject (which clearly applies to Sherry’s situation more than Meg’s):
Do you run alone? Why or why not? I do run alone. But never in the dark, on trails or in isolated places. Running alone is therapeutic for me. I’m not giving it up.
Any other safety tips to add?