On January 7, 2012, Sherry Arnold was assaulted and killed while running only a mile away from her home in Sidney, Montana. Although Jennifer has never met Sherry, she needs to tell you why this mother and runner is so important
Tribute runners across the globe wore this race bib on February 11.
The blogosphere of mother runners is tight-knit. You won’t find a better online community of supportive and inspiring rock-star women. (If you need more proof, check out the #momsrunning hashtag on Twitter). Some of these ladies are Couch-to-5K newbies and others are veteran ultra-runners, but we all try to find a way to balance our passion for running and our love of our children and families. And the best of all — we’ve got each other’s backs.
So when Beth Risdon of Shut Up and Run
shared on her blog that her cousin Sherry Arnold, a high school teacher and mother to two young children, didn’t come home after a Saturday morning run, we all (thousands of us) held our breath and hoped Sherry would return home to her family. What we learned instead was that she had been kidnapped, assaulted and killed less than a mile from home. While two men have been arrested, her body has not been recovered. Her family and town are devastated. And running mothers across the globe moved in to support Beth and Sherry’s families via Twitter, Facebook and of course, Beth’s own blog.
What happened to Sherry is horrifying — and could happen to any of us.
Nearly every day I’ve gone for a run since then, I’ve thought about Sherry and women like her. And while you wish that it was an isolated act, it’s not. I just did a quick Google search for “woman attacked while jogging” and there are pages of recent news stories. Although I joke about the bears and raccoons and wild turkeys being the neighbourhood menances, I know that I’m also never 100% safe from dirtbags and other ne’er-do-wells. So each time I hit the trails, I run with softer feet to hear the footsteps of someone who might do me harm, sharper eyes should I ever need to ID a vehicle or face and a piece of my heart heavy knowing that two young children that I’ve never met will be tucked into bed without their mother to kiss them goodnight.
It was during yesterday’s 18K that I thought of her the most. Beth organized a Virtual Run for Sherry Arnold. It took place on February 11, urging people to print off a memorial race bib and run, walk, hike, cycle or rollerblade, with the simple request of keeping Sherry Arnold in their hearts and minds. At last estimate, more than 40,000 men, women and children took part. I was fortunate to share my miles with two other (running and blogging) moms, feeling blessed that I could have this day full of friendship, then be able to go home to my husband and children, and share this story with you.
Be safe out there mamas. The world loves and needs you.