Runners. We think about footwear, about the right technical fabrics, and some of us think about the least annoying way to style our short hair. We think about long runs, fartleks, hill repeats, and PRs.
Often, we have to make a decision to run inside on the
dreadmill treadmill or take it outside. Most of us love exploring our neighborhood by foot. In a single run in my neighborhood, for example, I may run by 2 or 3 marvelous churches, get a friendly wave from someone sipping espresso at an outdoor cafe, and stop at the street corner briefly to pat the head of a neighborhood Corgi who takes his owner on a walk every afternoon. I can run to a tiny park and take a break to peek through a clearing in the trees to see a bold Minneapolis skyline watching peacefully over the Mighty Mississippi River. If I run the other direction, I can pause at the top of hill and watch the sun rise over downtown Saint Paul below, serenaded by the deep timbre of church bells.
On any given day– the hottest of the summer and the bitterly cold of the winter– I see a runner in my neighborhood. And it seems so safe here. Drivers are exceptionally good at seeing and stopping for pedestrians/cyclists and our fine city truly supports and champions wellness. But a terrifying story out of Montana, the disappearance of Sherry Arnold while she was out for a morning run, is a harsh reminder that there are people in any given place that mean to do others harm.
As runners, we don’t always think about whether or not we are safe. I mean, maybe to an extent, many of us do– I started wearing a RoadID after being a whisper away from being hit by a car one summer, and I always take at least one earbud out when I am running in an area with traffic. But that’s just protection against accidents. I don’t always tell someone when or where I am running. I never think twice about jogging out of the apartment and down the street.
On the other hand, I know I am not willing to succumb to the fear of every potential threat. If you spend all your time looking over your shoulder, you can’t look forward to what’s to come.
So, on Saturday I am joining a virtual run in Sherry’s honor. It is in part remembrance and in part out of respect for a family and community who has needlessly had to grieve and still has not received true closure as long as Sherry is missing. It is in part to contribute to a running community– even though I will be alone, in spirit I will be with hundreds of runners running at the same time for the same cause. And, maybe most importantly to me, it is my small way of saying that I will not be intimidated out of running where I live and I am committed to keeping my own corner of the world safe for everyone. I am committed to looking out for other runners/cyclists, kids crossing at the bus stop, college students walking home after a drink (or two or three) too many at one of our fabulous neighborhood watering holes.
Please consider joining the virtual run for Sherry Arnold. It will be held this Saturday, February 11 at 9AM MST (That’s 10AM for us Central Time Zoners). For more information, check out this website: http://www.shutupandrun.net/2012/01/virtual-run-for-sherry-arnold-february.html.
Run/cycle/walk/play safe, friends.