Last Saturday, January 18, 2014, the running community united to honor a woman, who most of us never met, to try to make something positive come from the tragic accident that ended her life. The goal was twofold: to celebrate life and to raise awareness about distracted and drunk driving with the hope that it will deter people from being reckless behind the wheel and reduce the number of lives lost on the road.
Meg's Miles, a virtual "race" with no terms except to run in honor of Meg Menzies, quickly took off on social media sites and amazingly recruited over 95,000 runners worldwide to dedicate miles to Meg. It didn’t matter if you ran one mile or twenty-six, if you ran outside or inside, or if you ran alone or with friends. All that mattered is that you ran. All that mattered is that you ran because you could, and because you care.
For those of you who don't know the background, Meg Menzies was hit and killed by a drunk driver while out running on the morning of January 13, 2014. She was approximately one mile from her house. She left behind a husband and three young children. She loved running and finished the Boston Marathon in 2012. She was currently training for the 2014 Boston Marathon, and it breaks my heart that she won't be able to run this April.
Meg’s story has touched people near and far. Runners from as far away as Siberia dedicated their Saturday miles to Meg.
Those of us following along on the Meg’s Miles Facebook Page saw firsthand how many compassionate and caring people are out there. Post after post, runners paid tribute to a beautiful life lost and expressed sympathy to Meg’s family and friends. There were countless pictures of runners dressed in blue (Meg’s favorite color) and purple (her sorority color) and some were wearing race bibs that they printed online. People posted collages including photos of their sneakers, their watches with total mileage and times, and beautiful scenery and wildlife they viewed while out on their runs. It truly was an awe inspiring and heartfelt tribute that I am so proud to have been a part of.
Here in Connecticut, a few of us from the Runit Team met up at Rotary Park in Simsbury to participate in Meg’s Miles. It was a chilly morning and the air was raw. It had been snowing on and off, which muted the landscape and set a serene backdrop for our tribute run. Along the way, we encountered a large hawk high up in a tree, and I couldn't help but think about Meg watching over us. I couldn't help but smile about how the world has come together to support a worthy cause and honor an exceptional person by doing something she loved to do.
There were 8 of us and we ran 3.4 miles each. That's a total of 27.2 miles for Meg. We ran from the heart. We ran because we could. We ran because we care.
Please be safe on the roads. If you are driving, stay focused and always be on the lookout for pedestrians, runners and cyclists. If you are walking, running or biking on the road, be extra cautious and wear bright, reflective clothing, especially if you are out at dawn or dusk. Stay safe and smile for Meg!