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Running for Meg Menzies around the globe

Thousands will gather around the globe on Saturday, Jan. 18, to run or walk in honor of Meg Cross Menzies, who was struck and killed while running on Jan. 13 in Virginia
Thousands will gather around the globe on Saturday, Jan. 18, to run or walk in honor of Meg Cross Menzies, who was struck and killed while running on Jan. 13 in Virginia
Brooke Roney via Meg's Miles

If you are a runner, you have probably heard about Meg Menzies, a young mom and avid runner from Hanover, Va. who was struck and killed near her home while running on Monday morning, Jan. 13.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Meg's husband, a police officer in Ashland, was running by her side when Meg was struck by an alleged drunk driver.

Even if you're not a runner, you may have seen the story in the news. Meg Cross Menzies was training to run the Boston Marathon in April.

As part of her training, Meg often ran in the morning after putting her children on the school bus. Many running moms do the same thing every day in communities around the world.

About 1,200 people gathered on Jan. 17 to say good-by to Meg at Cool Spring Baptist Church in Mechanicsville, where Meg served as director of the Sunday preschool Bible School.

Among the crowd were scores of police officers, local families and runners from the area. Many members of the Richmond Road Runners Club, of which Meg was a member, also attended the memorial service.

A running memorial to Meg has sprung up at the site of her death with scores of running shoes tied to the road sign and bouquets of flowers left in tribute.

Born of Meg's death, Meg's Miles is a global running event taking place on Saturday, Jan. 18. More than 65,000 runners and walkers from around the world have pledged to run in memory of a woman most didn't know in life.

People living on the other side of the globe have already begun to check in on Facebook, sharing photos of their runs in Poland, Quatar, Australia, Switzerland, Tokyo and other distant locations.

The Facebook group Meg's Miles Supporters invites all who run or walk in Meg's memory to upload photos taken before, during or after their run to the site, using the hashtag #megsmiles.

From the Meg's Miles event page, "This Saturday, January 18, 2014, no matter what your distance, no matter where you live, run for Meg. Take in the fresh air, be aware of your surroundings, keep your headphones on low, feel the heaviness in your lungs, the soreness in your legs, and be grateful for it--for all of it. The sweat, the pain, the wind, the cold…everything. Be grateful for that moment."

Meg's Miles hopes to honor Meg's memory by bringing awareness to the issues of drunk driving, texting while driving, and overall safety of runners and cyclists everywhere.

Many families will walk or run together, in a fitting tribute to a mom who loved her own children and taught children at Sunday School and as a substitute teacher at Kersey Creek Elementary School.

As Saturday morning dawns on the East Coast, groups of runners, walkers, families and individuals will gather in parks, at schools and on running trails to pay tribute to Meg Menzies in the most fitting way they know: by running.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, contributions can be made to the Meg Menzies Memorial Fund: P.O. Box 235, Hanover, VA 23069; at any SunTrust Bank, EIN: 46-7236030; or to the Ashland Police Foundation, c/o Chief Goodman, 601 England Street, Ashland, VA 23005.

Meg's death serves as a reminder to all of us that life is short and there are no guarantees. Embrace life each day and teach your children to do the same.

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