On Saturday, February 11, 2012, I had the privilege of running for more than just myself.
As a high school coach, I look for opportunities to teach the students about life and how running can be a part of their life beyond high school. “Running is more than just training to run in a high school meet,” I began. I went on to mention that I was living proof that even after high school, one could run in order to compete and accomplish goals. I pointed out that running is often used as a means to raise funds for charities, through organizations like Team In Training. “Finally,” I said, “Running is a way to honor and remember people – sometimes people you don’t even know, and that’s what we will do today.”
I went on to describe Sherry Arnold, someone about the same age as me, a math teacher at Sidney High School in Montana, a mother, a wife, and a fellow runner. I told the team that on January 7, 2012, she went out for a run and didn’t come home and that it appears she was abducted and killed.
It was a good reminder to all of us runners to be as safe as possible when out running. I reiterated to the team that they are not to wear headphones while running so that they can hear things all around them. I re-emphasized the importance of paying attention to the traffic and people around them. I re-stated our policy that they run the exact route the coaches prescribe and that they try to always be with a teammate or at least in earshot of one.
I then told the team that we would join thousands of other runners around the country in honoring Sherry Arnold by participating in a virtual run. I passed out the running bib for Sherry and safety pins. When everyone had their bib on, we gathered for a prayer led by my assistant coach, Natalie Martinez:
Let us pray in the memory of Sherry Arnold. A wife, mother, teacher and fellow runner whose life was cut too short one Saturday morning. Her tragic death is a simple reminder to be thankful and appreciative of the many blessings we have especially the chance to run on this team. Let us celebrate her life, her spirit, her strength and courage as we run in her honor today. And we pray we have a safe and successful track season.
Holy Founders…Pray for us
Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever.
After that, we headed off for our run. We ran what the kids call the “box run,” a route that includes the beauty of Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach. We’ve done this run many times but today, running for Sherry, it was just a little bit more meaningful.