Tragedy Unites Runners

Danny Polk

On the morning of January 13, Meg Cross Menzies was struck by an alleged drunk driver during her morning run. She was rushed to VCU Medical Center with life threatening injuries where she later died.
Meg started out her day like she had so many others, with a training run accompanied by her husband and Ashland police officer Sgt. Scott Menzies. She was preparing for the Boston Marathon, which she qualified for by running 3:05:49 at the Philadelphia Marathon.
As she ran along the side of Route 54 in Ashland, a car veered off the side of the road and struck her around 8:30 am. News of the tragedy spread quickly around the area, and hit home in the Hanover High School community as her mother, Pamela Cross, is the beloved choir director at Oak Knoll Middle School.
A Facebook event page was set up under the name Meg’s Miles. The event was a virtual race taking place January 18, where individuals were to run wherever they could, however far they were capable of, but to just run. Participants were asked to wear blue, Meg’s favorite color.
The page immediately went viral. Over 99,000 people from all over the world have joined. The mission of the page is to spread awareness of the dangers of drunk driving as well as texting and driving in addition to promoting “the overall safety of runners and cyclists everywhere.”
Thousands shared their memorial run experiences on Facebook from places as far away as Austrailia. Many Hanover students gathered on the school’s track and elsewhere to dedicate their run to Menzies.
“It felt good going out and supporting Mrs. Cross and the Menzies family,” junior Courtney Chenault said.
Over 1,200 people attended Menzies’ memorial service at Cool Spring Baptist Church where Pastor Brad Hoffmann decribed her as “A mentor, friend, and teacher.”
Those who knew Meg remembered her smile. The Twitter hashtag #megsmiles accounted not only for the miles that were to be run, but for the smile that they were run for.

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