Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Itasca Runners in the 2nd Annual Virtual Run for Sherry

I think this says it all
Saturday February 9th was the 2nd Annual Run for Sherry. Sherry Arnold, a wife and mother of two, set out on a morning run in January 2012, only to be abducted and murdered barely a mile from her home. Sherry's story is not the only one of its kind, but, it sparked a movement in the running community, especially among mother runners, to remind us all that safety is paramount in our sport.

Itasca Runners, running for Sherry
The Itasca Runners Club is a non-profit organization based in Itasca, IL, northwest of the city of Chicago, which brings together runners of all paces and experience, and gives back to the community through events like their annual Oktoberfast 5K race. The group represents the community feel of the small town of Itasca, but their reach into the running community extends much farther. The Club meets each Saturday morning at 7AM at the local Starbucks and runs a five mile course through the beautiful, tree lined streets of Itasca. There is never a shortage of support for all who run with the Club, and smiles, laughter, and conversation abound as the group revels in a job well done after each run. The Itasca Starbucks is a gracious host to the runners when they return from their run, allowing everyone to come indoors to warm up or cool down (depending on the time of year) with a drink and a snack, or just to enjoy each others company before returning home and getting on with the weekend.

Representing the giving spirit of the club, the Runners participated in the 2nd Annual Run for Sherry, including Club members and non-members alike. The virtual run is an effort to raise awareness for runner safety, and honor the memory of a fellow runner, and mother. None of the Runners knew Sherry personally, but her story is a true reminder of the gift we have been given through running, and that we cannot take this gift for granted. 

The size of the group on February 9th is a testimony to the giving spirit of the Itasca Runners, who spread the word about the virtual run and invited others to join them. It was a beautiful morning for a run, by Chicago area standards. There was fresh snow on the ground, temperatures in the upper 20's, and the scenery was nearly perfect with snow on the trees lining the streets. After the mild winter this area has had thus far, it was nice to be able to enjoy the wintry beauty that morning.

Itasca Runners, along the five mile route
After the run, the group gathered at Starbucks to enjoy hot drinks and some breakfast. We talked about Sherry's story and how it has impacted our individual efforts in running, and the reminder to us all just how fortunate we are to have this group to run with.
Post-run time at Starbucks
Whether you ran, walked, did cartwheels, or had a dance party with your kids at home, I hope you were able to participate in the 2nd Annual Virtual Run for Sherry. If you're a runner and you don't run with a local running group to run with, do look for one. It's amazing the difference it makes in your confidence, and running with others makes the miles go by so much faster.

 If you ran (walked, skipped, jumped) for Sherry, tell me how it went! And seriously, if you're a runner and don't have a local group that you run with, look one up today! It will make a difference whether you only like to run a few miles a week, or you're training for a marathon. There's a lot to be said for having familiar, friendly faces to help you along.