Sunday, February 12, 2012

Running for Sherry

Saturday, I had the opportunity to go on a long run by myself and dedicate it to the life and tragic loss of Sherry Arnold.  Although I did not know Sherry personally, the virtual run was put together by one of my favorite running bloggers, Beth of Shut up and Run.  Sherry was her cousin.  In case you somehow missed the story, Sherry, age 43, went for an early morning run near her home in Montana on January 7th and never returned.  An anonymous tip led to the arrest of two men, one of whom admitted to murdering Sherry.  Her body has yet to be recovered.  It makes me so sad and disgusted that people can be so cruel.  It breaks my heart that Sherry was taken from her family while doing something she loved in a place she felt safe.

I was honored to participate, with countless other runners, in a virtual run that was literally taking place over the entire world.   I left a little before 6am and decided to do a 12 mile loop that takes me along the Willamette river.  I'm usually a little leery to run it by myself in the dark but decided that for this run I needed to be away from the streets and find some solitude near the river.  Thinking about Sherry made me a little more nervous than normal and every time I passed some random person (ie transient) in the dark (there were only 2 separate times) my heart began beating a little bit more quickly.  Soon the sun came up though, and it felt like spring.  My thoughts began centering around how wonderful it was to be able to be out running on such a peaceful morning.  I really didn't fuel very well (surprise, surprise, a handful of Cadbury mini eggs didn't really cut it) and was feeling fairly worn out by 8 miles.  However, at that same time, it happened to be a little bit before 7:30 and I was crossing by the bridge where Laura of Run Momma Run had organized a group run for Sherry.  Seeing the group of women gathered in Sherry's honor gave me quite a boost.  Laura had a great turn out.
No, they didn't pose for me as I ran by, I stole the picture from HERE
Thinking about the group running for Sherry carried me for a few more miles, however, by mile 10, I was back to feeling sorry for myself and my poor pregnant body that just really wasn't feeling the distance.  As I continued on down the path though, I began to come across several other runners who were also wearing race bibs in honor of Sherry.
I couldn't help but feel uplifted.  It wasn't about me out there running for myself, but more about doing something in honor of a woman who no longer will be able to... to give tribute to her and the person she was and well as those that she left behind.  Seeing those other runners also running in Sherry's memory made me realize how lucky I am to be alive, to be active and to be able to do what so many people can't.  It also made me think about what a great sense of community runners have.  We are strong and courageous and not easily broken.

I'm again, grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of this event.  As Beth states on her blog, "Sherry's goodness, courage and strength prevail and she is not defined by the tragic way in which she died."  I hope that we can each appreciate the life we lead, be happy with who we are and show love unconditionally to those closest to us.

Update:  Beth put together a beautiful slideshow of some of the many, many people that participated in the run.  If you'd like to check it out, go HERE.


Marci said...

You did a really good job with this blog.

Heather said...

Thanks for sharing. I've been following the story as well and thought of Sherry on my run yesterday. I think one of the greatest benefits I get from running is the emotional health. The time I spend on runs working through difficult feelings or emotions, thinking through problems, dealing with life, etc. is so valuable to me. What a great tribute yesterday's virtual run was to Sherry, and done in a way to help everyone work through their emotions surrounding the situation. May her family be uplifted and blessed.

Fruit Fly said...

That's so great that you participated! I didn't officially do a run for her, but she was certainly in my thoughts today during my 10 miler. Such a sad, needless thing that happened.

2 Slow 4 Boston said...

Sorry if this is off-topic, but I thought you might like to know I featured your blog (kinda) in my latest post.

Laura Boll said...

Love how many people were out running for her! What a great weekend to be part of the running community.