On January 7, the same day I was racing my way to a new 1/2 marathon PR, Sherry Arnold went out for a morning run in Sidney, Montana. She didn't come home. Days went by and all they could find was one of her running shoes. Not much information was released to the public but after several days, two suspects were in custody and one confessed to killing her. Her body still hasn't been found.
I've been following her story through the Shut Up and Run blog. Sherry was SUAR's cousin. SUAR's blogs have been heart breaking to read as she shared information about Sherry's death. It is scary to think that you could go out to do something you love, something that is healthy and good for you but bad things can still happen. Runners and walkers certainly aren't invincible.
I've always been a very cautious athlete. If I have to train alone, someone always know when I left, which direction I'm heading and when I'm expected to be home. When The Pilot isn't home, I call my mom or a friend. Someone always knows. And if it's dark, I just don't go. I refuse to go alone in the dark. This is the ONLY reason I have a gym membership. With the long winter nights, there just isn't enough sunlight to get in an outside workout during the week. Still, Sherry was killed on a Saturday morning in a sleepy town in Montana. If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.
Today, people from all over the world ran and walked to remember Sherry. A Virtual Run for Sherry was organized. 500 people showed up for the run in Sherry's hometown today. A large group gathered in Boulder, SUAR's home base. Bloggers across the country ran for Sherry. The Runners World Facebook page was blowing up with people running for Sherry. And while I'm stuck in a hotel for work, I was sure to carve out 30 minutes to run on the treadmill for Sherry. It wasn't a great run (turns out a day of bad eating and a glass of wine at a business dinner doesn't provide the fuel for a good work out. Go figure.) but that wasn't the point. I stopped from my crazy day and thought of Sherry and her friends and her family.
Sure, running/walking can't bring her back. It may not comfort to her family. It doesn't change that there are sick, crazy people out in the world. But this is one of those senseless acts in which no one really knows what to say or do. So runners and walkers do what we do best. We pound out our feelings on the pavement or on the treadmill. It's how we process the tricky stuff in life. It's how we cope with emotions.
It does show the public that while runners and walkers come in all shapes and sizes and paces, different ethnic and religious backgrounds, male and female, we are one tight knit community. When something happens to one of our own, we don't just stand there. We band together and we make some noise. Whether it does anything or not, it's what we do.
Something that won't happen though, is no one will forget Sherry.