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?
I'm inking this with Meranda and Lacey and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0.
This is such a tragic story--it's becoming all too common for women runners. Actually, for women in general. What a nice gesture to remember Mollie.ReplyDelete
It's not fair that women have to always be on the defense, it's a shame there's so much evil out there, lurking. I agree....this is a great thing for Mollie's legacy, but also a great means of comfort and solidarity for runners.Delete
Such a sad story. I ran the other her day and dedicated my run in her honor as well!ReplyDelete
It's a tragic story....Delete
This whole story is so sad and tragic. I think it's a great testament to the running community that so many runners have dedicated #MilesforMollie.ReplyDelete
Runners are strong and loyal...when something happens to one of our "tribe," we all take actionDelete
I am in tears just reading this. It certainly hits way close to home for me as well having a daughter this age. We cannot let fear keep us from venturing out and doing what we love. I will post about #MilesForMollie in our MRTT group. If there is one thing runners always do, it's come together in good times and bad. Thinking of you and your community xoxoReplyDelete
Thank you, Deborah <3 You said it perfectly...runners come together in good times and bad.Delete
This is so sad and tragic. It breaks my heart that things like this can keep happening over and over. I love how runners stand (or run) together to support Mollie's memory. I'm running long tomorrow and will dedicate my #MilesForMollie.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Debbie...there will be a lot of us running together in spirit to honor Mollie ;-)Delete
This is such a tragedy :( It makes me so angry that women cannot do something simple for our helth like going for a run without worrying for our safety. I'm sorry that your community is having to deal with this.ReplyDelete
It is a tragedy, not only for Mollie and her family/friends, but for women everywhere.Delete
I live in Des Moines and have teenage daughters so like you, this hit very close to home. They are in XC and run in a pack ;-) but I run alone with one of my dogs. One immediate thing I did was update myself on my emergency alert buttons on my watch and phone (and then forgot my phone on my 5:30 a.m. run the next morning...) Anyway, if you have an iphone, you can hit the power button 5 times quickly and it will dial 911. The police communications officer said that they can ping you to figure out where you are. I have been creeped out a few times while running and run on a couple trails where women have been attacked in the middle of the day. I refuse to stop running outside and try not to be stupid, although I do get lulled into a sense of security at times. I always run with a dog if it is dark, I do not run with any music so I stay alert to my surroundings (I tend to zone out more with music), I make eye contact with people and try remember what they are wearing, etc. It makes me very angry that I cannot feel 100% safe running. It makes me sad that I have to tell my daughters how to be safe. And it is heartbreaking to know that Mollie should have called the police and didn't.ReplyDelete
I had heard of the "5 button push" awhile ago, but I'm glad it's been brought to light. I had recently read about it in an article about safety after the events of this week. Thanks for the reminder!!!! Fortunately, I feel pretty safe within the confines of my town (I'm in Grinnell), but like you, I also try to always be very aware of my surroundings & make eye contact with any stranger(s) I encounter.Delete
Stories like these just break my heart. It's wild that women have to go through so many precautions that men don't even think about. I've been training with a group of runners this summer and have had very few solo runs. However, whenever I do run solo I always stay aware of my surroundings and take some precautions. The worst that's ever happened is that I've been catcalled while running with a group but I know that I'm in the lucky minority.ReplyDelete
It is frustrating that women have to be on "high alert" much more frequently than men. Fortunately, I feel very safe in my town...but I still exercise caution and do not take my safety for granted.Delete
How sad. I will definitely dedicate my miles to Mollie this weekend.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Darlene!!! A bunch of us will all be running together in spirit ;-)Delete
All of my miles on Saturday will be for Mollie. It breaks my heart, and kind of terrifies me, when things like this happen. I generally run alone and while I don't often feel nervous, anything can happen.ReplyDelete
I agree...I'm alone a lot of the time, except for my (very) early morning runs or long runs (when I'm with a friend).Delete
This is so sad, and scary. I will dedicate my long run miles to Mollie this weekend. I run alone just about every time. Weekdays are mostly lunchtime runs in areas populated with other runners, but the weekend I usually run in a forest. The paved paths generally have lots of people, but sometimes, especially the winter, there can be long stretches with no one. The trails are less populated, and though I generally enjoy them, it can be a bit creepy at times. I don't run with music (outside), I pay attention to my surroundings, and a few times I've just turned around and gone the other way if something didn't feel right.ReplyDelete
You are smart to turn around if something doesn't feel right! We all have gut feelings, and they are usually spot-on.Delete
Hearing about Mollie was heartbreaking. My friends and I will dedicate our miles tomorrow to her.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Deb!! It's good to know there will be a bunch of us rallying for Mollie this weekend!Delete
Just awful. I'm doing a 10k race on Sunday. I'll dedicate that to Mollie. #MilesforMollieReplyDelete
Thank you!!!!! We'll be running together in spirit this weekend ;-)Delete
This is such a sad story! Just awful.ReplyDelete
I know...it's totally unimaginable. Surreal.Delete
I will dedicate my miles tomorrow for her. I can't believe I used to run alone in Atlanta at 5am years ago & never felt threatened. When I moved back to the Atlanta area last year, a women was attacked while running (in the middle of the day) a few miles from my home so I've been scared (he was never caught). I've been running a lot of the treadmill because of the heat this summer but have ran in groups here and there over the last couple of months.ReplyDelete
As creepy and tragic Mollie's story is, it is reassuring that the creep is in custody. And, everyone is on high-alert right now, runners and non-runners alike.Delete
I will absolutely dedicate my miles to Mollie tomorrow. I run alone a lot & we have had our share of attacks on runners in our area. :( how is your daughter doing?ReplyDelete
Such a tragedy. But it’s heartwarming to see runners coming together to not only honor her but also to stand up together.ReplyDelete
This is so heartbreaking :-( Thank you for sharing more about this tragedy and running the miles for Mollie.ReplyDelete
I did follow this case and while I was hoping they would find Mollie alive, as the weeks went on, it just started to look more and more unlikely. :( It is so sad what happened to Mollie, and what happens to women all over our country on a daily basis- not just women runners, but all women. We are always at risk for being harassed and assaulted whether we are out running, on a date, walking to our car... anything. Learning about Mollie doesn't make me more or less frightened, only because I feel like as women, it is already our second nature to be cautious, vigilant, and always pay attention to our surroundings. We are used to doing this and don't even think about it at this point.ReplyDelete
Not only do we have to worry about stranger danger, but many women have to worry about their domestic partner, whether it is physical or emotional abuse. In fact, the #1 cause of death for pregnant women is HOMICIDE. How insane is that? https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/maryland-case-undercores-fact-that-homicide-is-a-top-cause-of-death-for-pregnant-women/2017/09/15/9c4d5b62-9a39-11e7-87fc-c3f7ee4035c9_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.518e57e96e7d
Sorry I did not realize I was going to type this much! I just get really angry sometimes that Mollie and other women are not safe to just go about their daily lives without the dear of being assaulted or murdered.
This story just broke my heart. I was def praying for a different outcome.ReplyDelete
I am with you in that I am NOT going to let evil win!
I will do all I can to be a safe runner outside and share safety tips with others!
Big hugs to your daughter as well as she mourns the loss of her friend.