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Runners Around the World Run for #megsmiles

Posted by Chrissy Horan  January 20, 2014 10:15 PM

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Since I began running, I have turned my dislike for the activity into a love for the sport. However, week after week, race after race, I found that it not just the sport, but in part, the running community that keeps me motivated and excited to run. I think it’s so important that I blog about it.

I am typically not surprised when I hear stories of runners helping other runners, or the larger community. We are, in general, a good bunch. We may stop during a race to help another runner who tripped and fell. We use running races to fundraise for causes important to the physical, social or mental well-being of the communities we live in. We organized races, such as #onerun , to support one another and local businesses after the Boston Marathon bombings.

Yet, I am still surprised, and more importantly impressed, at the way the running community world-wide responded last week to the death of runner Meg Menzies.

Meg Menzies, a mother, wife and runner from Ashland, Virginia, was killed Monday morning, January 13, 2014 by a drunk driver on her morning run. Meg was training for the 2014 Boston Marathon and was an involved member of her local running club, the Richmond Road Runners.

Shortly after her death, Meg's friend Brooke Roney set up a Facebook page for an event called Meg’s Miles. I emailed Brooke today to ask how the idea started. She wrote to me,
“I posted in a running group on Facebook called Women's Running Club about my friend's death and that it's a tragic reminder of how we should all be careful on the road. Some of the women in the group were commenting about how we should dedicate our runs to Meg on Saturday the 18th. The name Meg's Miles was suggested and I just created a Facebook Event for it. I thought if people used the hashtag #megsmiles and posted pictures, thoughts, prayers, etc it would be kinda cool to have all in one place on each social media platform.”


Runners near and far to Richmond, VA supported this event. Olympian Kara Goucher tweeted

Thanks to social media, the running community does not need to be defined by geography. Runners across the world posted on the Facebook page that they dedicated their miles to Meg on Saturday. Over 96,000 have joined the Facebook event. Using the map developed by organizers, over 3,900 people around the world marked their runs for #megsmiles.

It is a scenario that every runner knows is possible, but no one really believes will ever happen to them. According to local reports of the accident, Meg Menzies was running during daylight at 8:15 am and running against traffic, as runners are taught to do. The driver was intoxicated and it was reported that he ran off the road as he reached to adjust the radio.

I didn’t know Meg. But as a runner, when I heard this story, a shiver ran up my spine as I thought “That could be any of us”. As a human, my heart ached for her family and friends. So on Saturday, my Boston Marathon training group, the Run to End Alzheimer’s Team, and our partner training team, Team Brookline dedicated our miles to Meg.

The support and condolences communicated over the course of the last week acknowledges the power of social media, but is also a tribute to just how strong the sense of community is among runners.

I asked Brooke her reaction to the response that #megsmiles has received. She told me,
“I was expecting a couple hundred people MAYBE to respond to the event. So the fact we had 96,000 people all over the world running for Meg was simply phenomenal. I've said it before and I'll say it again--I didn't do anything. It's everyone else who shared the event and kept gathering support for Meg that did it all. Very proud to be a part of the movement.”

It does not mend the pain and suffering that I am sure her loved ones feel right now, but perhaps they can feel a bit of comfort in the international outpouring of remembrance to honor their daughter, mother, wife and friend. The Facebook page acknowledges that not coincidentally, #megsmiles can be read as Meg’s Miles or Meg Smiles, which is a wonderful way for her family and friends to remember her.

For more information about events and fundraisers, a website, www.megsmiles.com is being developed. Her friends hope to use this tragic loss as a way to raise awareness about drunk and distracted driving and runner safety.


As always, let me know what you think and what’s going on in your running community. Post comments here or email me at RunAlongBoston@gmail.com.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

     Chrissy Horan has been running around Boston and nearby neighborhoods since 2000. An athlete through high school and college, she has found the running community in Boston to More »

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