Saturday, February 11, 2012

This post isn't about me

This post isn't about how the fog hung around the shoulders of the moraine, enclosing me in a grey curtain. It isn't about how a cautious rain lightly kissed the ice-skimmed surface of the glacial lake far below. It isn't even about running on what always feels like the top of the world, alone.

Instead it's about Sherry, who went out for a run on January 7th and never came home. It's about all the other women like her, most whom you have never heard of. It's about wanting to take back the trails for all of our daughters, cousins, friends, so that what happened to Sherry never happens again.

So this post isn't about how far I ran today, or my pace, or how the ice and rocks made the trail treacherous. It isn't about my shoes, soaked through, or the deer half-glimpsed behind the ridge, watching me.

No. It's about people all over the world doing a virtual run in Sherry's memory, a powerful tide of belief and sorrow and rage, proof that united, we can do anything. People are running on treadmills, on pavement, on dirt and snow and ice, none of us running alone for one brief moment in time.

This post isn't about me. It isn't even about how, inexplicably, I started to cry as I headed back down the trail and home, years of looking over my shoulder, the split-second measuring up of a sketchy van on a remote highway, the clutching of pepperspray, the statements about how women should never run alone, as if we bring it on ourselves--all of this adding up to the balance between how running makes me feel and the fear. A fear we should't have to face every time we lace up our shoes.

But I am wrong here. Because this post is about me. Don't ask me to explain, but as I reached the more sane part of the trail, the part where I can actually run, for just a moment I saw in my mind the face of a woman I will now never get to know. It was Sherry, smiling. Saying: Thanks for the run. I've only had this happen once before, years ago, someone else who passed on too soon.  I believed then. I do now too.

I get to go home today. It's easy to take that for granted, but I don't, not today.

Run on, Sherry.


  1. Thank you, Mary. This is moving and poignant. We will be honoring Sherry at a meeting of a committee she was a big part of on Thursday morning. Do you mind if I share this there?

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  4. Walked for Sherrie, for both my daughters and for all the women who should be safe out there.

  5. I'd be honored, Jennifer! Thanks.

  6. This is about all of us, women who just want and deserve to be safe in pursuit of what we love.
    What a wonderful post, Mary.

    Now more than ever I want to do JMT solo. OK, I am angry, it will pass. :-)

  7. Good post. I would have done the virtual run but faced other fears skiing... terrible things happen no matter what you're doing or where you are.


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