Her name? Mollie Tibbetts.
Her hometown? Brooklyn, Iowa...a small town in central Iowa, located a mere 20 miles down the road from my hometown.
Although I did not know Mollie personally, our youngest daughter did. To say this tragedy hit way too close to home is a drastic understatement.
As runners, we rely on running to not only better ourselves physically, but also emotionally. It's not only our place of comfort, but also our escape from the world. We use running to generate ideas and to clear our minds. We think, talk, sing, analyze, forget, and on occasion, grieve during our runs.
On the evening of July 18th, Mollie laced up but never made it back home. Within only a couple of days, her story received national attention. Posters, flyers, car magnets, t-shirts and extensive coverage on the news (local and national), as well as numerous channels via social media, all had Mollie's image displayed in hopes of finding her and bringing her back home.
So, where do we go from here? Do we stay inside our warm and safe homes, sheltered from all the evil that exists outside? Or do we continue to do what we love outside, but with a mindful eye to our surroundings? Obviously, we all have our own personal comfort zones. Myself? I refuse to cower inside...I refuse to let evil win.
As we all know, the running community is strong in our loyalty to one another. When one of our own is taken from us, we lace up, join hands and run. Such is the #MilesForMollie movement. Runners have been dedicating their runs to Mollie, and not just on a local level.
I have seen runners, all over social media, posting their sweaty post-run selfies. Some pics feature smiles and thumbs-ups, others are somber. None the less, these #MilesForMollie runners are unified in their thoughts of Mollie. Personally, I think it reinforces the strength of our community. Although I did not know Mollie, it gives me a small sense of comfort in knowing I can devote my miles to her memory and honor her as a fellow runner.
An article by Hailey Middlebrook appeared on the Runner's World site on Thursday, August 23rd, highlighting this very movement.
There's also a Facebook page, Flags 4 Fallen, that is giving participating runners the option to post a selfie or a screenshot of their #MilesForMollie route (as well as their mileage). In turn, their run will be documented (distance and city) on a US flag, which will then be presented to Mollie's family at some point. They are already anticipating it will take several flags to document all the miles that will be submitted by runners in Mollie's honor..
|photos from Flags 4 Fallen Facebook page|
How do you feel about running outside in lieu of what happened to Mollie? Do you run alone or with a group? Have you ever found yourself in an unsafe situation while running?