Race #43 – #RunwithRivs and #RunforSarmistha

Starting my half marathon with Cathy & Joanne on York County’s Heritage Rail Trail

Race #43: Run with Rivs, any distance of your choice, so I made it a half marathon

The Cause: All proceeds benefit Tommy Rivers “Rivs” Puzey and his family. An incredible, accomplished runner, he was recently diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer. And there’s an amazing outpouring of support for him throughout the running community.

I heard the news a few days ago, from this social media post by my running coach and friend, Fred Joslyn, who is on the right-hand side of the photo below. His message is a testimony to the tight-knit, caring running community. And if Fred (one of the kindest people I know) is encouraging support of Rivs, his word is worth its weight in gold.

In 2016 I had the amazing opportunity to run the world 50k championships with this group. Wearing our gold medals we earned for Team USA, it was a happy day. Unfortunately the man we’re holding, Tommy Rivers-Puzey is currently fighting for his life.

If you’ve been following my journey, you know that I’m a writer. So it only makes sense that I love posting quotes about running throughout my race recaps. I also turn them into graphics for my Inspired Miles Instagram account (@InspiredMiles). Here are a few words of wisdom from “Rivs.”

Cancer, or more correctly, the fight against cancer, is a cause woven throughout my 50 races. It’s a fight that can easily make the “average person” feel like the ultimate underdog. But when someone who’s as active, fit and alive as “Rivs” is struck by cancer, let alone a rare cancer, the scales feel even more off-balance. My heart breaks for his family–his wife and children. About 2,000 runners have signed up for the #RunwithRivs, each of them making a donation of their choice.

Side note: I have a special race planned for my 50th race, the virtual Brave Like Gabe 5K, dedicated to runner Gabe Grunewald, who died last year of rare cancer (Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma), with proceeds going to rare cancer research. (Here’s a link to the Brave Like Gabe 5K.) I think there are a lot of parallels between Gabe and Rivs.

From another angle, cancer researchers are amazing. That makes the news in this next paragraph all the more tragic.

Last week, in a random and senseless crime, a female runner was attacked and killed in Texas. Her name was Sarmistha Sen and she was a scientist and cancer researcher. My heart breaks for her family as well, which is why I’ve also dedicated today’s half marathon miles to her. #RunforSarmistha (Here’s the news story.)

Today I was super excited to meet up and run (socially distancing) with my run buds Joanne and Cathy on York County’s Heritage Rail Trail. Violence against female runners needs to stop. Violence against black runners needs to stop. Violence of any kind needs to stop.

It shouldn’t be normal that we devoted much of our conversation to:

  • carrying mace vs not carrying mace on runs
  • what type of mace to carry
  • running safety
  • where and how to carry ID while running
  • a whole string of runners who made news because they were tragically killed while running

There’s no happy ending to today’s race recap except to say:

  • The running community is awesome for pulling together to #RunwithRivs and #RunforSarmistha.
  • I hope to update this post with a grand total number of miles and dollars raised by the virtual Run with Rivs.
  • #cancersucks
  • #stopviolenceagainstwomen

Scenes from York County’s Heritage Rail Trail:

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