Meg Menzies, from Ashland, VA, was an avid runner. This 34-year old mother of three had qualified for the Boston Marathon, and went out for a 13-mile run Monday morning when she was hit by a drunk driver, and died later at the hospital.
She did everything she had most likely been trained to do, in terms of running safely. She ran against the traffic. She made sure to stick to the section of the road for runners and bicyclists. Training for a race wasn’t new to Meg; for years Meg had trained with the Richmond Road Runners, pounding pavement, reaching phenomenal goals. I’d read on Facebook that she’d qualified at the Philadelphia Marathon with a 3:05 time. Outstanding.
Hearing the news of Meg’s death shook me to the core. Although this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of a runner having their life tragically end while doing what they are passionate about, this was the first time I really sat down and felt the heaviness, the utter sadness of the situation. I normally try to block out negative media, and will scroll right on by when a headline showcases anything remotely depressing, but I had to pause when I saw Meg’s news on Facebook. I didn’t personally know Meg. I’d never met her, but this woman, in essence, is me. A mother who loved her family fiercely (she proclaimed on Facebook that she was a happy stay-at-home Mommy), someone who was driven by the running bug, someone who worked hard and trained towards her goals. There are many, many of us who can relate to Meg. A public Facebook page entitled “Meg’s Miles” has over 70,000 followers, many of whom had never met her personally, but could still identify with the passionate spirit she had been in life. The Ashland Police Department is also mourning Menzies’ death. Chief Doug Goodman said in a statement on Tuesday: “Yesterday, the Ashland Police Department suffered an immeasurable loss with the tragic death of Meg Menzies, wife of Sergeant Scott Menzies.Meg has equally been a part of our law enforcement family for nearly a decade and her presence in our midst, and especially that of her family, will be sorely missed. With her support, Sergeant Menzies has been a steadfast catalyst for improving safety in our community. Whether working late on DUI enforcement patrols or coming in on his day off to lead a public education program focusing on the dangers of drunk driving, Sgt. Menzies always had her unyielding support. To lose his wife in this manner is simply unfathomable. The Ashland Police family is stunned and deeply saddened by this tragic and senseless loss.”
Runners will gather to run in honor of Meg tomorrow. It doesn’t matter where you live, or whether you run alone, or with friends. If you’re not a runner, that’s okay, too. Tomorrow, take a moment to remember Meg. To quote Brook Roney, creator of Meg’s Miles on Facebook: “In her honor, our hope is to raise awareness of drunk driving, texting and driving, and overall safety of runners and cyclists everywhere. This Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, no matter what your distance, no matter where you live, run for Meg. Take in the fresh air, be … aware of your surroundings, keep your headphones on low, feel the heaviness in your lungs, the soreness in your legs, and be grateful for it — for all of it, the sweat, the pain, the wind, the cold, everything. Be grateful for that moment.”
I’ll be running for Meg tomorrow, in her memory. For a woman I never got to know, but knew all too well. Rest in peace, Meg.
To find out more about Meg’s Miles, check out her Facebook page. Also, if you’re interested in helping Meg’s family, donations can be made to the Ashland Police Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization established to help its members in times of need. Donations can be sent to the “Ashland Foundation” at 601 England Street, Ashland, VA 23005.