Six Degrees of Seperation…..Virtual Run For Sherry Arnold

Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of, “a friend of a friend” statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer.

Today was the day for the Virtual Run/Walk for Sherry Arnold.  Running communities throughout the world sponsored virtual run/walks to honor Sherry, a “fallen” runner, and all of the other runners who have left their homes to go for a run and never returned.  I think each time we hear a story of a runner who has gone missing it cuts to each of our soul’s.  I usually remember the names of these individuals for years, if not forever, after the fact.  I find the six degrees of separation  reference to be true in most instances and this time most of us need even fewer “degrees” as many of us are connected to Sherry thru her cousin Beth at Shut Up + Run.   We may not know Beth personally but we know her “on-line”.  We may not have known Sherry personally but we knew her thru the stories which Beth took the time to share.

So today, we did the only thing that we could possibly do…..we ran.  Here is the group that showed up in single degree temps today to run.  I only wish I could say that our static temp was indeed 6 degrees, but the truth of the matter is that it was 8 degrees at the start with a “feels like” temp of -2.  The wind was howling and viscous so we grabbed a quick pic and took off running!  From back:  Kim, Susan, Kerry, Jenny, Kathy, Brian, Lori (middlish in purple), Stacy (Lori’s hubby!!), & CrazyBoyDon.  Front:  Joe, Meg (Jeni’s 11 year-old – middlish in black), Aby (my 10 year-old), Jeni – Sparkalish Roar, & Melissa.

As we were moving toward the trial, I also gave some brief safety tips.  I will highlight them here in case nobody could hear me with the howling wind.

    • Run with a friend or a group when possible.
    • Carry a pepper spray or something to defend yourself if necessary.  I like the Wrist Saver.  At $12.95, it’s definitely a good deal in my opinion.  I ordered the small but its a tight fit on me.  I did that though so that Aby can also use it. 
    • Run without music or just use one ear bud with music at low volume if you must have it.
    • Pay attention to your surroundings at all times.
    • Make eye contact with the people you meet and the drivers of the cars that pass you up.
    • If you are running on the road, run against traffic.  It’s the law and it allows you to see what is coming at you.  React appropriately and don’t be afraid to dive in the ditch if necessary.  I step off the road ALL THE TIME.  I do not trust that cars see me.  Plus, as soon as I see a car, I immediately look behind me to see if one is coming from the other direction, which will inhibit the oncoming driver from moving over to give me more room.
    • Don’t take a ride from strangers.
    • If at all possible carry your cell phone with you in case you have an emergency.  I know today’s cell phones are usually big and bulky so we can surf the web so I had to purchase a spi-belt to carry mine.
  • I also use knucklelights (see above) at night and ALWAYS run in clothing that is VERY reflective and has multiple reflective accents.  Always assume that cars/drivers/people CAN’T see you!
  • Tell a family member (or leave a note!) your running route but also inform them that the route may change if the situation changes.  I always leave the house with a plan but frequently change it up due to circumstances:  something that makes me feel uncomfortable, a wild animal, the wind, the traffic patterns, etc.  So make sure the family knows the “intended” route but also have them be aware that shit things happen and a route is never written in stone at least for me.
  • Trust your instincts.  If it feels wrong, then it is wrong and it’s your responsiblity to change the situation.

So today, we ran for Sherry, no moment of silence or quiet reflection, just a quick safety check and then the joy of running.  May Sherry and all the other “gone missing” runners feel our joy today and take comfort in our remembrance of them doing their favorite thing, regardless of the weather. 

And of course, Michael wanted to participate too but with the weather, there was no way that I was taking him out in the jogger.  So we grabbed a photo with him once we got home.  And some of our friends who joined virtually who were not able to be in Frankfort, IL today.  Angela from sunny Florida.  Lynn who is local but couldn’t make it out with us today.  Several of our F’N Running Club members were racing today and couldn’t join us in person but still ran with Sherry’s bib on their back’s.  From left:  Amanda – Get to Goal, Kelly – Running Kellometers, Gennie & Maggie – MagMileRunner:

Did you get in any miles for you OR Sherry today?  If so, link up some pics for us!

Any safety tips that I missed?  If so, please share.

Happy SAFE Running,                                                                                           Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                   

11 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Seperation…..Virtual Run For Sherry Arnold

  1. I ran 5 on my treadmill, safe and sound. I will admit, I run with my IPOD on most outdoor runs, unless I am running with a friend, and I have nothing reflective….the good thing is I run on a lot of sidewalks through our additions. When I run on the road it is only ever during the day….

  2. I was recently informed that it is illegal for anyone under 18 years of age to carry pepper spray. So this is not an appropriate form of defense for your child. Secondly, spraying pepper spray is a last resort as the “float” from the spray can also inhibit you if the wind pushes it back at you. There are proper ways to spray pepper spray. Here are 13 tips on using pepper spray, please read them.

  3. TTF…sad to report I let you down. In my haste to get to Palos early Sat morn and most thoughts contending with the cold….I forgot the Sherry-Bib….drat. My 12-mile long-run in that cold was fraught with difficulties and I would have been a lousy virtual runner. Maybe next time I will just wear it as a “make-up” virtual run.

    At least back in November 2007 I participated in that memorial walk for Alma Mendez at Sauk Trail Woods.

    I was going to add the “self-defense course” but Maggie one foot ahead of me. Most I am aware of are run for women, but would like to see a “co-ed” version out there.

    Self defense is more than just moves that you can make to repulse an attack or free yourself for escape – it involves intuition and awareness. One part of awareness is being familiar with your run routes and where the escape routes to the closest place of shelter, other people and ultimately help.

    In my days supervising the controlled burns, prescription burn training, and especially the training wildfire fire-fighters take, emphasizes “keep one foot in the black” – which is a mantra to that one always needs to know where the nearest burned-out area or control line exists since that is the safest place to seek in wildfire escape or “blow-ups.”

    Runner’s that want to run as safely as possible with the least risk of abduction or worse should know their run routes thoroughly, but not just the route, but where the places of safe harbor or help are and how far they are from you at any point along your route.

    Also, don’t wait for the “dog-to-bite-you” before you act in defense, but better yet, learn to recognize the potential before you have engaged it and then you have some room to simply turn and flee. Maybe you better practice some sprint-workouts every once in a while!

    Oh…my reference to a biting dog is figurative. The only time you don’t run is from a dog cause that just stimulates them to chase and we all know they will catch you eventually. When confronted by a barking, snarling, growling or otherwise not-so-friendly-looking canid, just stand your ground and face them….they will stop in their tracks. Then you have to assert yourself and shout and yell at them and they usually back-off, go back to their home turf, or at least allow you enough space to slowly get around them. If their owners don’t come to assist, then you can resort to that pepper spray you got on your wrist to convince the dog to give-it-up.

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