Meg’s Miles: Three observations from the tragic death of Meg Menzies

Seen on the run during my own observation of #MegsMiles.

Seen on the run during my own observation of #MegsMiles.

I never knew Meg Menzies, but her tragic death last week resonated with me.

Meg was an avid runner and a Boston Marathon competitor. Last Monday, she was out on her morning run when she was struck and killed by a drunk driver. She leaves behind a husband and three kids.

Her story spread nationally. People wanted to do something to commemorate her life in light of her tragic and needless death. That’s when Meg’s Miles was born.

The idea was for people to commit to running last Saturday, then post about it on a Facebook page created for this event, or to write about it on other social networks with the hashtag #MegsMiles. Nearly 95,000 people indicated on the Facebook page that they would participate.

For me, this included a little trail time plus some road miles in my hometown. Others ran short distances and long.

I was impressed by the response people gave, and I’m sure Meg’s family and friends appreciate it. Running communities are pretty special, and we tend to rally around causes like this.

But it also got me to thinking about a few things.

First, it made me recall the times I’ve almost been struck by drivers. Motorists tend to focus only on what they’re doing behind the wheel and other drivers. They creep into crosswalks, roll through intersections, speed down roads where pedestrian traffic is heavy, and otherwise don’t pay attention to anything else that is not a car (that includes bicyclists and motorcyclists, too). Many drivers are also distracted, reading texts and texting while operating their vehicles. I don’t have troubles with oblivious drivers on trails — there are no cars there. But on the streets, it’s another matter. In cases of auto-pedestrian accidents, the person on foot always loses.

Second, it made me think about what I can do to mitigate that danger. If I wear headphones, I keep the volume low. I run facing oncoming traffic. I don’t assume drivers are going to do the right thing.

Third, drunk driving is no joke. I would have figured the stigma that goes with it would have all but eliminated driving while intoxicated by now, but it hasn’t. People still get behind the wheel when they’re stone drunk. In Meg’s case, I cannot fathom the sheer idiocy of driving drunk during the hours people are going for a pre-workday run. If you find yourself tanked a 6, 7 or 8 a.m., do yourself, your loved ones and everyone else a favor and get help. Now.

Meg Menzies. (Meg's Miles Facebook page photo)

Meg Menzies. (Meg’s Miles Facebook page photo)

So what do you do to keep yourself safe while on the run? Did you participate in Meg’s Miles? What did you do? Share your stories with me in the comments.

Bob Doucette