When I first started running by myself, I never gave a second thought to the idea that something could happen to me. I never put it into my mind that I wouldn't be able to run freely, with the road and quiet being my therapy.
That was until, Vanessa was killed.
A young woman just like myself, was out enjoying time to herself when her life was cut short. She was taken from this Earth way before her time, and her story is one that is shared continuously throughout the running community and world.
Upon Vanessa's death, I was told by friends, family, and even people who weren't friends, that I, "needed to run smart". That my running alone was only going to, "entice someone in the wrong way" and that my running alone was stupid; it was suddenly foolish for me to take time for myself and continue doing something that truly made my soul be at ease.
You'd think that may have stopped me, that I would have listened to everyone around me and I would have stopped running alone. Instead, I used it as the fuel in my running fire, and immediately hit the pavement.
Women who run alone aren't dumb, we're strong. Women who run alone aren't "putting themselves at risk", we just are telling you we don't need a crowd. Women who run alone aren't "sticking it to everyone" that we are some how immortal; but instead we're saying that you cannot hold us back.
I run for my therapy, sure. But I run for all runners who need to feel the pavement beneath their feet, their legs carry them through hard hills, their lungs fill with the freshest of air, and for those who aren't able to run with us physically anymore.
I am running the 2020 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon for the Vanessa Marcotte Foundation, because Vanessa never should have had her run interrupted; but I know she is running freely wherever she may be and will be running alongside us on March 15th.
Please consider donating to my fundraiser for Vanessa.