Running the Race

meg menzies memorialA little more than 3 months ago, my community was hit hard when a young mother was out for a training run for the Boston Marathon with her police officer husband. They were getting a late start as the school bus that carried their kids to school was late. As they followed the rules of the road, running against traffic, an SUV swerved off the road, missing the husband but hitting the wife and mother of three. Hours later, she was pronounced dead.

In the days and weeks that followed, it was pretty incredible to see not only the local community but the running community, both nationally and internationally, respond. People ran for Meg and her family. People ran to carry on her legacy, a legacy that was cut too short at 34 years. All over the world, the story of this unassuming mother was being told and the faith that propelled her and which now propels her family forward has been proclaimed.

Yesterday, the 2014 Boston Marathon took place. It was a solemn day as the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing were remembered and honored. And somewhere in the mass of people who ran the race was Scott Menzies, the husband of Meg Menzies, the woman who had been training for the marathon when her life was cut tragically short by the alleged drunk driver who had swerved off the road. He was running the race to see what she would have seen and to experience what she would have experienced. He was hoping that he would feel her and that she would be behind him, pushing him across the finish line.

This story is so multi-layered, kind of like an onion, when you peel a layer off, you continue to find more. In these days of social media, the story unfolds even more broadly. As I read stories and looked at pictures on Facebook yesterday, I saw the pictures that my friends who live in Boston had posted. They were watching the race with their families. I saw the posts on the Facebook page created in honor of Meg Menzies. I saw the chief of police who Scott Menzies works for holding up signs along the race path, he and his wife having traveled to Boston from Virginia to cheer on his fellow officer.

Yesterday morning, I drove by the intersection where Meg Menzies was hit back in January. Every time that I drive by, I turn my radio off and drive in silence, sensing that the moment is sacred and that the ground is hallowed. It’s hard not to be overcome by emotion as I see the street sign strewn with running sneakers. It’s hard not to think about the Menzies family and all that they have endured. As I drove past, I prayed for them, and especially for Scott as I knew that his run would be an emotional one.

The words of Hebrews 12:1-3 seemed appropriate as I thought about Scott and his run, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” I imagine that the witnesses that surrounded Scott were not just earthly witnesses, but heavenly ones as well.

Life goes on, races are run, and marathons will continue, but I imagine that no race will ever be as important to Scott Menzies as the one that he ran yesterday. Police officers put their life on the line for strangers and citizens every day, and for that, they are rightfully considered heroes. Yesterday, Scott became a hero for representing his wife, at least he did in my eyes. Well done, sir, well done.

My original post after the tragic accident:

Here’s the Washington Post story on Scott Menzies and his run:

And the local Richmond news report with Scott’s interview before the race:

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