What started on Friday, September 2nd, 2022, and unfolded over the weekend in Midtown Memphis Tennessee is nothing short of unfathomable.
It’s wrong on every possible level.
It’s sickening in the most gut-wrenching ways.
It’s heartbreaking beyond belief.
It’s pure evil in human form.
Friday around 4:30 AM on the streets of a well-lit community near a college campus, just another long-run for Eliza Fletcher turned into the last day of her short 34-year-old life.
She was robbed of her existence, her joy and of her life.
Her children were robbed of their mother.
Her husband was robbed of his wife.
Her family, students, and friends were robbed of her [oh so bright] light.
And the running community — we were robbed of our peace.
Because of… him.
A creature creeping in the darkness.
A lifelong criminal who never [ever] should’ve seen the light of day.
Eliza Fletcher deserved [so much] better.
She deserved to make it home that day to her family.
She deserved to finish her long run.
She deserved to live.
If there’s any sliver of hope that will come from this, it’s that the running community will not let Eliza’s memory fade.
Her vicious death will not be in vain.
We might be shaken.
We might be deeply gut-wrenched to our core and oh, we might be sickened,
but we are also:
and incredibly brave. [Just as Eliza was that day.]
And fear? –Well, it’s not going to stop us from doing what we love most.
It didn’t stop Eliza and it certainly won’t stop us.
Fear doesn’t belong here and might as well see itself out.
Because it’s not on our training plan.
It’s not a song on our playlist or a mantra on race day.
It can’t walk [or run] a single mile in our shoes.
And it never will.
Not at 4:20 AM. Not at 9:30 PM.
Not in the dark or the light.
Not in the morning or at night.
Fear won’t stop us runners from running.
Because we are wired to fight the hard battles.
We’re wired to push past our human limits.
We are wired to keep going until we cross the finish line.
We will keep running, early in the morning and late at night.
We will keep running for Eliza – and every last runner that never made it home.
Because we are runners.
We are mothers.
We are sisters.
We are daughters.
We are friends.
We are wives.
We are girlfriends.
We are best friends, co-workers, and teammates.
Just like Eliza Fletcher.
And together, we will shine her light [so incredibly] bright in the darkness and finish her run before the sun.
And no, we won’t [ever] stop.
In loving memory of Eliza Fletcher, mother, daughter, sister, teacher, runner, and friend.
On behalf of the entire running community, we will keep your light shining and we will finish your run.
MORE MILES RACES – RUN FOR ELIZA:
“Let the world hear our footsteps.
Come together as the running community.
We run. You can choose to join the run for free or donate your distance ($5 or 5k, $10 for 10k, etc) that will be donated directly to Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation. Their mission directly aligns with envisioning a world where women can live free from harassment. From their website “On a summer afternoon, Vanessa Marcotte left her family home to go for a short walk. She was tragically killed by an act of violence…More than 600 women are assaulted each day. We need to fight back. We need to step up. We need to advocate for a world where women are safe and free to live boldly and fearlessly.”