On a chilly January morning in Virginia, Boston-qualifier and mother of three, Meg Menzies was hit and killed by a drunk driver while on a routine Boston Marathon training run. Subsequently, a sincere and heart-felt international groundswell of love and support erupted, culminating in a weekend-long virtual run; a tribute to Meg and her life as a runner.
As it happens, when a beautiful life force is silenced, we are left reeling; we feel punched in the gut and grasping for answers. Arguably, we are always left with more questions than answers.
All week, the story of Meg’s passing gained a foot hold across international social media platforms. Saturday, as her story trended on Twitter and Facebook, the fitness community took to the streets, trails, treadies and tracks in an international virtual run/walk/bike to show respect, support and love for Meg and her family. Tens of thousands of fitness enthusiasts logged hundreds of thousands of miles for Meg #Megsmiles. I personally interacted with people from no less than 7 countries, who logged miles for Meg. I spoke to someone who ran 25-yards who said, “I am overweight, out of shape and almost puked… but I ran.” That’s the SPIRIT! I eavesdropped on a running club; a seven-member team talking about their 20-mile run dedicated to Meg. And there were thousands of in-betweeners… like me. I printed the bib, laced up my shoes and ran a virtual 10k for Meg.
My Virtual 10k for Meg
I ran a familiar road route at a slow, comfortable pace; I wanted it to go quiet and easy so I could reflect on what Meg’s passing means to me. I mostly succeeded in that, except when- early in my run- I biffed at a busy intersection and hit the pavement on all fours. Through the pain, I thought a LOT about the Menzies. Not surprisingly, I was left with more questions than answers. I wondered how they were holding up. Do they have a good support system? Is their Virginia community helping out? How are the kids? Does she have siblings? Would Meg think we’re all nuts? Would she be proud of the international runner community for this marathon effort? Will the outpouring of love and effort make a difference in the fight against driving drunk. How about her husband? What about his support system? … and that’s when it hit me. Thinking about Meg’s husband, I couldn’t help but flip the script, and began to wonder about how this would affect my community and my family if this ever happened to me.
I put those thoughts out of my head as I rounded the final corner of my loop-route and headed home. Walking the final few feet of my run, I privately thanked Meg for the opportunity to spend some time in my own head and smiled about the fact that I couldn’t answer a single question I posed on my run. Pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to.
During my run with Meg, I reconciled this; in life, there are going to be times when all we are left with is the rhetorical, and that has to be good enough.
Oh, and since Meg’s Virtual 10k counts as one of my races for the year, I should disclose my time. It was a laughable 1:21:05, thanks to my face-plant at Mile #2. It took a few minutes to shake out my knees, pick the gravel out of my elbows, and brush off my pride.
Did you run, walk, or bike for Meg? If so, let me know in the comments below, and log your miles on #megsmiles.