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Local Runs Honor Missing Teacher

Photo courtesy of Roby Ferrari/Flickr

I have lived in Montana most of my life, and for the last 10 years or so, I have run almost every day.

I’ve had the good fortune of running with a lot of great people over the years, but I’ve also logged a hefty chunk of mileage on my own. In Montana, most runners wouldn’t give a second thought to heading out for a solo run, especially within city limits. I have done it hundreds of times.

On the morning of Jan. 7, beloved Sidney math teacher Sherry Arnold headed out for a run that she, too, had probably done countless times. She never came home.

When I heard the news of what had happened in Sidney, I was hit with an onslaught of powerful emotions. I was shaken, saddened and scared. I couldn’t help but think, “It could have been anyone. It could have been me.”

In the weeks after that tragic morning, I thought of Sherry every time I laced up my running shoes. I thought of her family and friends. I thought of her students. I could not even begin to imagine the magnitude of their loss.

This Saturday, Feb. 11, runners all around the world will be lacing up their running and walking shoes in memory of Sherry. What started as a small memorial run organized by Sherry’s cousin Beth Risdon quickly turned into a worldwide event after Beth wrote a post about the run on her blog, shutupandrun.net.

Those wishing to participate in the “virtual run” for Sherry Arnold are encouraged to download and print a bib from Beth’s site, which they can wear on their shirts while running.

Several organized group runs around the state and country — including a handful in the Missoula area — will also be held Saturday morning.

Runners will gather at Frenchtown High School at 9 a.m. for a one to three-mile run and group photo. There is no fee to participate in the event.

The Runner’s Edge will host a group memorial run during its weekly Saturday morning breakfast run, which begins at 8 a.m.

Finally, an organized memorial run will be held at 9:30 a.m. in conjunction with the annual Catchem If You Can 5K race, which starts at Toole Park. Those who register for the race will have the option of wearing a bib for Sherry in addition to their race bib. Those who do not enter the race can run for Sherry free of charge on a separate course.

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.

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