Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mother Runner Sherry Arnold

For several weeks I have said prayers and thought about a woman who is/was a complete stranger to me.  But, for many reasons she really is not a stranger.  She was a mother, a runner, a wife, a teacher, a daughter, a cousin - she was so many things that so many of us are.  She was a woman who loved to run, loved her family and on a Saturday morning headed out for a run in her small town in Montana.  The part where it becomes different - she never came home.  She was abducted by two men about a mile away from her home.  One of the men has confessed to killing her but all they have been able to find from that dreadful day is one of her running shoes. 

I have prayed on more than one occasion since I heard about her disappearance that there would be a miracle and they would find her safe and sound.  Unfortunately that is no longer the case and they have officially declared her deceased.  It breaks my heart that she will never be able to tell her kids and husband how much she loves them and hear those words back.  From what I have read about Sherry Arnold - everyone in her life knew just how much they meant to her. 

A year ago this story would have made me stop and think for a day or so and then I likely would have moved on and not thought about it again.  Now as a fellow mother runner, this story has touched me very personally and has actually made me second guess my own training habits and running alone in the dark.  I never met Sherry Arnold or her cousin Beth who writes at the blog Shut Up and Run - but I have cried for them on more than one occasion. 

Beth has set up a virtual run in Sherry's honor on Saturday, February 11th at 9AM MST.  I will for sure be running in honor of Sherry that morning - I have a long run planned already but will definitely be printing out one of the bibs and wearing it as I run.  One thing I have learned over the last year is that runners are a tight bunch - and one of our fellow runners needs us - we show up and do what we can do.  I am proud to call myself a runner especially when I know that it means I get to be included in this amazing group of people.  I have met so many wonderful and supportive people over the last year and the least I can do is dedicate my run next Saturday to honor the amazing and caring woman that Sherry Arnold was.  You can find much more information about Sherry and the run on her cousin Beth's blog at Shut Up & Run.  Beth is an amazing writer/runner/mother and has done a wonderful job of spreading the word about Sherry and the virtual run. 

For me, one of the biggest take aways from this tragedy will be to more careful when I run and always that much more grateful when I am able to go out and return safely from a run.  I have never run outside with music and this cements that decision so that I am more aware of my surroundings.  I refuse to completely change my life because of the evil that exists in this world, but I will most definitely always put my safety first and make smart choices when it comes to running alone and/or in the dark. 

If you end up running/walking in honor of Sherry on the 11th - take a picture and send it to me or send it directly to Beth at beth@shutupandrun.net.  She will be posting pictures on her blog so that Sherry's family can see all of the people that went out for a run/walk in her honor. 

Be happy and healthy my friends! 

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