This morning I, like many, participated in a Virtual Run for Sherry Arnold, the Montana mother, teacher and runner who was kidnapped and killed in January 2012. Last year, my sister and I ran together through the streets of downtown Seattle to honor her. This year, I ran solo in my neighborhood to remember her. I printed out my bib, which reads:
2nd Annual Run for Sherry
Courage. Strength. Grace.
Be Safe. Run On.
To be honest, courageous is not something I’ve been feeling lately. Quite the opposite. Wimpy, insecure, doubting, questioning, struggling and uncertain are more like it. I’ve also been babying an IT Band/knee issue which has left me feeling totally sorry for myself and the fitness I’ve lost since the marathon training.
But this morning was different. As I pinned on my bib front and center, I left that Kira at the door. I took off with the spirit of Sherry. As I ran, I thought about teachers. About the ones who showed up on a Friday night to hand out books at my son’s Bingo night. I thought about his glowing report card, and the words written with such great detail, love and commitment to his success. About teachers who give their all, heart and soul, for our kids. I thought about and prayed for Sherry’s family. For that massive, unfillable hole. For the life lost. For the ache that doesn’t go away.
I headed up a hill and heard someone running behind me. I glanced over my shoulder and saw a guy in a beanie. I picked up the pace. I wouldn’t let him catch me.
I ran with shoulders back, with courage.
I ran without stopping, with strength.
I ran without self-pity, with hopefully a little bit of grace, and a whole lot of gratitude.
This morning, I ran with purpose.
This morning, I ran for a person.
Thank you, Sherry.
We are running on.
We are not forgetting.