Running Will Never Be The Same

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I’ve never cried while running.  Until today.

This morning, my husband and I attended a moving tribute the young woman slain while running on our local trails on New Year’s Eve.  It was a Silent Mile, organized by a runner who did not know the victim but was touched by her death just as we all were in the local running community.  I wasn’t planning on coming back to these trails again.  But we decided it would be a good way to honor her memory.

When we drove through the park entrance, I began to cry.  My stomach was in knots, knowing that this place – the park near my home, the place where my children play, where my dad bikes, and we run – was the site of a horrific murder.

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The turnout was amazing – I would estimate at least 100 people.  There were so many runners there, all with the same intention – to honor the life of Lauren Michelle Bump.  Her dad and brother were there, as was their church pastor.  They spoke a few words before we began, and their faith was obvious.  I am not a religious person so it fascinates me how people of faith always seem to find comfort in the most horrible, hopeless times.  They asked that this mile be a time to reflect, meditate, or pray.

The route was a 1/2 mile out and 1/2 back in.  As we started at the trailhead, where I always start my runs, I realized I was seeing this place differently now.  I started to cry again.  I remembered all the times I had been on this stretch while night was falling – completely defenseless.  What a fool I was.  Never again.image

I got to speak with her dad and brother briefly.  I told them “I didn’t know Lauren, but running will never be the same for me – I will always keep her in my heart.”  Her brother cried and hugged me.  What an amazing opportunity we all had to show her family that we have them in our thoughts.  

There has been an arrest made in her case and we will all continue to follow the case as closely as we can.  In the meantime, I am going to a self-defense class for runners tonight at a local run shop, hoping to gain some valuable information on how to keep safe while enjoying running again.

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14 thoughts on “Running Will Never Be The Same

  1. oh man.. that is so scary. i’m glad you got to meet the family and provide some words of encouragement, although it’s so sad you had to meet them in these circumstances.

    be safe! hope the self defense classes teaches you some valuable skills.. that’s a good place to start.

    • Thank you for your comment! Tonight’s class was AWESOME and very comprehensive. It talked about everything from ways to avoid an attack to methods of self-defense. I feel better already 🙂

  2. Lauren Owen says:

    That is awful, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family. It is a sobering reminder that we must always stay vigilant, while not only running, but in everything we do.

    • Yes you’re exactly right. I’ve been thinking about how we need to be careful wherever we are – not to be paranoid but to be always aware. Thank you so much for your thoughts.

  3. Keep your head up girl. I couldn’t imagine what I would feel if something like that happened on the trails I run. Don’t let this stop you.

    • Thank you! You know what’s funny is that all my “non-runner” friends are saying “Just stay inside or go to the gym!” and all my “runner” friends are like “Get back out there!!” Just goes to show our resolve 🙂

  4. What a tragic loss. The silent run sounds like a wonderful way to pay your your respects. Thank you for sharing, it reminds me to be a more aware runner.

    • You’re right – it was a beautiful tribute to her life and her family was overwhelmed by the response. It has definitely been a wake-up call for all runners, which is why I felt compelled to share the story. Be safe out there and thank you for your comment!

  5. What a tragedy! It is times like this that I am proud to be a part of the running community. Stay strong! Prayers being sent your way!

  6. Sandra says:

    I am so so so so sorry to hear this, but I hope that the running community can somehow gain strength from this. And never run at the same or any predictable pattern time again. :-/. Be safe and run with someone. Maybe your dad could ride his bike with you when you ride?!

    • Thank you so much for your comments. I think it definitely has made us all stronger and taught us to be more vigilant. I don’t think I’ll run alone again, at least not for a long time – even though I’m more prepared now because of this. My husband and I run together when we can but that’s not often because our kids are still small. I’ve actually run into my dad on the trails when he’s been riding but he likes to zoom through there and go like 26 miles all the time :/ I’m now thinking of joining a running group 🙂 Thanks again!

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