I belong to a running group on Facebook; a group of amazing women and men out there encouraging each other with daily posts of running distances and times, and funny antidotes just to make you laugh about the world of running. One of my favorite quotes posted recently says, "I run faster than the speed of slow." Runners from all over are members of this group - beginners, intermediates, marathoners - all with the same goal...To run farther and faster than the run before! It has taken me weeks to sit down and share the story about #Megsmiles. As a mom and a runner, this tragedy felt very personal and each time I think about it my eyes well up with tears.
One member of the running group, a fantastically fit and high energy runner named Brooke Roney, was a friend of Meg Menzies, the runner who was training for the 2014 Boston Marathon when she was tragically struck and killed by a drunk driver during her morning run in Ashland, VA in January. Meg was a mother of three children and the wife of Scott Menzies, an Ashland Police Sergeant. From her families loss and Brooke's initiative, an unbelievable amount of support emerged from the running community from all over the world to help the Menzie's family. After Meg's death, Brooke started an event on Facebook, Meg's Miles, thinking she would turn a tragic situation into something positive. Over 96,000 runners all over the world have joined the event and are running in Meg's honor, and runners post pictures of their runs in Meg's honor with the hashtag #megsmiles. In a short amount of time, a t-shirt fundraiser raised over $31,000 to help the Menzie family, and fellow runners are making running jewelry, and a photographer captured a beautiful moment in the sky of a cloud shape resembling a runner.
A photograph of the running shoe memorial in Ashland, taken by Denise Mestauza-Taylor, stays in my mind above all else and speaks volumes about the running world and how much one person: a mom, a wife, a runner, meant to people - to some people that didn't know her she became an inspiration. Mary Jones, who knew Meg, said it best, "Carpe the heck out of each diem!" #megsmiles
The website www.megsmiles.com is being developed and live in a couple of days. The site will bring awareness about runner safety, and drunk and distracted driving.