Written by: Elisa Fulton.
Saturday, January 18, 2014 was not a normal Saturday. This day was a day that people from Ashland, Virginia to places as far away as Siberia ran for a woman named Meg Cross Menzies. Meg was the wife of Sergeant Menzies, a DUI Task Force officer for the Ashland Police Department. She was the mother of three young children, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. She was a leader in her church community and an outstanding marathoner. Sergeant Menzies has been a strong leader and advocate working to make the roads safer for everyone. Some say they had never met people as nice as the Menzies.
Meg was training to run in the coveted Boston Marathon in April and after seeing her kids off to school that previous Monday, January 13th, she and her husband went out for a morning run. She had 13 miles to run and was about one mile into it when an oncoming SUV crossed the white line and struck Meg. She had been jogging down a stretch of road with a narrow shoulder when she was hit by Dr. Michael J. Carlson. He did stop to render aid to Meg but she succumbed to her injuries at the hospital later that morning. Dr. Carlson registered a .11 BAC. The police also discovered an unopened can of beer and a bottle of prescription medication in his car.
Dr. Carlson’s story brought a twist of its own. In 2004, Dr. Carlson’s wife was killed in a head-on collision with a delivery truck that crossed a double yellow line. He had to explain to his three small children why they would not be kissing their mother goodnight. Now, nearly 10 years later, Sergeant Menzies was doing the same thing. These six children lost their mothers way too soon, but in the case of Meg, it was clearly preventable. It was because someone drank and got behind the wheel of a car.
So Very Grateful For What I Have
I personally never met Meg. I first learned of this tragedy from two friends and neighbors; one of them was Meg’s cousin and a fellow runner. Meg’s story has touched so many people in such a short amount time. As of that Saturday there were over 90,000 people across the world pledging to run in her honor. I am sure the actual totals exceeded that by a great deal. There were restaurants, activity venues and many more pledging to donate a portion of their proceeds to a fund set up for Meg’s children. It really begs the question why so many people can relate to her. I for one am a mother to three small children, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend and also a fellow runner. Countless times I have kissed my children goodbye and gone out for my morning run knowing that I would soon return home tired and sore but ready to see their happy faces excited to see mine. I saw Meg’s Facebook page and their family pictures with the children lined up in front of the Christmas tree and I cried for Meg. I cried for her family knowing that she would never get to return home from her run or see their smiling faces. She would never again get to kiss them goodnight or comfort them after a bad dream. She would never get to see them grow up or get married or have children of their own. I can tell you this, I held my children a little tighter. I read my daughter an extra story, I counted more stars with my eldest son, and I rocked my baby a little longer. I kissed them goodnight and thought of Meg. I am grateful that I am still able to do those things, so very grateful.
Running for Meg
I suppose that is why so many of us can relate to her. For the Megs Miles Run, some were pledging to do what they could while others said they would finish her run with the 12 miles she had left to complete. Some children said they would run a mile for each of Meg’s children. Other victims of DUI-related crashes who could not run anymore, walked. Some walked for hours on crutches for Meg. So many others who were never runners decided to run this day. In the words of a Megs Miles supporter “This Saturday, January 18, 2014, no matter what your distance, 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.”
This tragedy has really shown how communities across the world came together as one to honor Meg and her life and to raise awareness to such an important cause. I feel honored to have been part of such an event. The Menzies and Cross families went to multiple locations around the city where Meg’s supporters were running and expressed their gratitude to the people out running for their beloved Meg. She is running with the angels now and watching over her little ones and her family. Not just her immediate family, but her running family, her church family, her friends and the hundreds of thousands of people she touched after she passed. The stories that people have shared have been touching. So many of us have shed a few tears reading over the posts in the Megs Miles Support Page. To me, she is a beacon of light. A beacon to those who are suffering and dealing with the tragedy that drunk driving can cause. She is a beacon of hope to so many to stand strong, have faith, and awareness. As my friend put it, “Inner reflection was just another part of her legacy.”
One thing is certain, Meg didn’t just move mountains; she moved the world.
Written by a fellow “mother runner,” Elisa Fulton
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. If donating to the Ashland Police Foundation please make a note that it intended for the Menzie family.