There are those moments in a community when a series of events are just so shocking that it motivates citizens to action. This past October, Albuquerque had those type of events back to back.
The road rage killing of four-year-old Lilly Garcia was followed, days later, by a repeat offender fatally shooting Albuquerque Police Officer Daniel Webster. Seeing the text alerts sickened me. While lawmakers and attorneys were doing what they needed to do in their respective arenas, different groups were holding vigils and honored the families and communities impacted by the events.
At the core of the violence is a dwindling respect for life among segments of our community. Since I am not in an elected office, I decided to run for the families as a way to show them that the memories of their loved ones lives on.
After that week in October, it didn’t take long for me to get signed up for the Tucson Marathon and the Family Fitness 10K. The two events were a part of the Saguaro Challenge consisting of a 10K was on Saturday December 5 and a marathon on December 6.
The two days of races were great, I even had a PR for the marathon. Not bad with only five weeks of serious training! It is safe to say that I was motivated. Along the marathon route, were affirmations of the reason I was running. They took the form of Sherriff Deputies, Highway Patrol Officers, Police Officers and Fire Fighters. The public safety professionals who “stand the watch” so we can run. It was quite humbling actually. Some were enthused to be there, others were wanting to do “real” police work. I tried to thank all of them, as I usually do.
While there was a dwindling crowd at the finish line, filled mostly with my friends from the Oxy-Gen Morons, nobody knew why I was running, they were just cheering me and other runners on to finish (I think so we could all go grab a beer and bite to eat)! The cool thing about the Saguaro Challenge was that the event provided two medals. One was to commemorate the finish of the Marathon, the other to mark completion of both the 10K and the Marathon!
The medals have been forwarded, through the Albuquerque Police Department, to the families of Lilly Garcia and Officer Daniel Webster. My hope for them is for healing and a peace. Understanding, afterall how does one make sense of these tragedies?