Saturday, February 11, 2012

Running For Sherry Arnold

Today runners all over the country are runnign in honor and memory of Sherry Arnold. Who was she, you might ask. I didn't know who she was either before I read an email I got from Runner's World magazine. I clicked on the link provided and read the story below. I copied it directly from the Runner's World website. I didn't want to risk misrepresenting any part of Sherry's story. 
A Virtual Run in Memory of Sherry Arnold, 2.11.12

As expected, I was very sad for her family and her community, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized this tragedy could happen anywhere. I'm sure she was a very special person to her family and community but there isn't anything about her that makes her stand apart form me or you or the woman down the street. It could have been any of us.

I run in my neighborhood and in two other nearby neighborhoods as well as my local bike trail that follows the American River. I feel very safe in these areas of town and I'm sure Sherry felt safe on her running rout as well but those men weren't a part of her community. They were just passing through so her story really doesn't have anything to do with the area she was running in.

As I sat thinking about Sherry and letting her story sink in I started to get angry. Angry because this is another example of how the monsters we share this world with have caused unimaginable pain and fear in the lives of the rest of us. Some comments were made that Sherry was stupid for running alone and women should never run alone. I always run alone. I don't know anyone who likes running and can run on my schedule so I run alone. Sherry was running on a Saturday morning. I run on the bike trail on Saturday mornings. I like the bike trail because it's really busy on the weekends. There are running groups and cyclist getting in their morning workouts and lots of area residents walking their dogs. The numbers of happy active people make me feel safe but you never know who might be lurking in the shadows.

I thought of Sherry for most of my four and half mile run this morning. Her story made me second guess my ipod so I left it in my car. Just in case I needed to be more aware of my surroundings. I watched the other runners I came across on the trail wondering if they had heard about Sherry. If they did, have they changed anything in their running routine? Would the men running alone be thought of as stupid? I'm guessing not.

I'm choosing to end this blog in a we-can-change-the-world kind of tone. Runners, whether you run alone, with a buddy or in a group, look out for each other. If you see someone in your neighborhood who doesn't belong there, report it and give other runners and walkers you see a heads up about those individuals. We have the power to make our favorite running spots safe for everyone. I have my local sheriff's emergency and non emergency numbers programmed into my phone. Find out what those numbers are in your area and report anything and anyone you think is out of place. Trust that inner instinct we often ignore. I'm not going to let these local and transplant terrorists dictate where and when I can run.      

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