Keep Running for Meg’s Miles

Brent Peterson —  January 15, 2014 — 8 Comments

Meg Cross Menzies was out for a morning jog earlier this week, about a mile from her home.

The location is also a couple miles from where I live.

At 8:15 AM, she was struck by a Toyota Sequoia SUV, driven by Dr. Michael Carlson.


Carlson is a 47-year old internal medicine specialist, living with a form of leukemia.

The driver had a registered .11 percent blood-alcohol level on this Monday morning.

(The presumed intoxication limit here in Virginia is .08 percent)


Meg (pictured) died at the scene of the accident.


Meg’s Miles and Meg Smiles

From the Meg’s Miles Facebook page:

Meg Cross Menzies was tragically killed by a drunk driver while out for her morning run on January 13, 2014. As an avid runner, member of the Richmond Road Runners Club, and Boston marathoner, she was a member of the running family nationwide. In her honor, our hope is to raise awareness of drunk driving, texting and driving, and overall safety of runners and cyclists everywhere. 

This Saturday, January 18, 2014, no matter what your distance, no matter where you live, 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. 

Feel free to post pictures of yourself pre-run or post-run, post your distance, post your thoughts, prayers, condolences with the hashtag #megsmiles. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.

Let all runners unite together and remember the loss of a beautiful spirit.

It’s not a coincidence the hashtag reads either “Meg’s Miles” or “Meg Smiles.”

She will be smiling on all of us forevermore. 


Running Gear for #megsmiles

People across the country can also show their support for Meg’s family through the purchase of a bonfirefunds designed shirt:


A $15 t-shirt purchase creates a donation of $5 to the family.

You can also add an additional donation to your purchase, which is what I chose to do.


Keep Running for Meg’s Miles

I’m not a runner although I am a cyclist on the same roads that Meg had run.

I have also been outspoken about the dangers of distracted drivers (especially those who text while driving – as highlighted in this other blog post).

I’ve almost been hit multiple times as a cyclist and as a pedestrian.

Further awareness about the dangers of distracted driving may occur in light of this tragedy.


However, I can’t rationalize why tragedies like this occur, but they do sadly happen.

Both here in my community and in your’s.


Life is terribly fragile.

I know it is a cliche, but make the most of every day.

You just never know.

And keep pushing yourself to go that extra mile.

Even when you have every reason not to.

(Featured images by marcovdzKasia via Compfight, and from Brooke RoneySolomon Morris Whitfield via Facebook)


Do it in honor of Meg Menzies

Not just this Saturday, but every day.

Meg was a proud mother of three young children.

Her surviving husband serves on the local police department.


The Precious Gift of Life

As evident in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and now in my own town in Virginia, I recognize there is a powerful bond in local communities and in the running family nationwide.

Social media fuels the compassionate response, but individuals ignite the fire.

I conclude therefore not with my words, but those of another runner (pictured) Solomon Morris Whitfield.


Solomon posted these comments on Meg’s Miles Facebook page:


I don’t know you; we were never friends, not even acquaintances. However, we do/did share one common interest: running.

I ran 6 miles early this morning; it was dark, it was foggy; and the whole time I thought of you and how your life was tragically cut short due to the negligence of a drunk driver. 

Though I don’t know you, and never will, what I do know more so now thanks to you, is just how short and more importantly how precious life really is.

I think about your family, your friends; and all those who actually did know you that you left behind.

Though I didn’t know you; you have reminded me just how precious the gift of running can be.

I will no longer complain about how tired, how down, how unmotivated I feel because I have been fortunate to be given another day to live, to run, to be with my family.

I know you meant a great deal to many people; and touched many lives perhaps to people you didn’t even know.

I just want you to know that you have motivated me more so than I already was; you have shown me that life is a gift and under no circumstances should be taken for granted.

Each day that I have the opportunity to wake up, see my family and go for a run, I should consider myself very fortunate.

I know over the next several days and weeks, many people will show their tribute to you in a variety of ways. Though we were never friends, I know how important running was to you and I won’t forget your story.

I simply want to say thank you for reminding me of what is really important and how running (and a life) are gifts that can be taken away instantly; and that is something I should never take for granted.

May you rest in peace, and may the peace/comfort be over you and your entire immediate family, and running family.


Me (a random runner)



What are you thoughts in response to this type of tragedy?



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Brent Peterson

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Brent is the author of the Stand & Inspire blog. Stay connected with Brent via free email subscription to Stand & Inspire blog posts. Brent is also the creator of Interview Angel, a popular career toolkit for job seekers to use in interviews. Brent loves to clean the kitchen, play softball, cheer for the Baltimore Orioles, and go cycling on country roads (but not necessarily in that order). He loves public speaking but is afraid of eggs. You can connect with Brent on LinkedIn and Google+ as well.

8 responses to Keep Running for Meg’s Miles

  1. Such a terrible loss–it seems so senseless. Yet, it is a reminder that our last day can be any day at any time. My prayers are with Meg’s family as well as the driver and his family.

    • Thank you Yolanda for your gracious feedback. It is certainly a reminder there are no guarantees in life. I’ve lost other friends in car accidents. If we live long enough, we probably all have experienced that unexpected tragedy. My heart does reach out to the driver and his family too. A bad choice can lead to bad consequences. Everyone loses.

  2. Brent – thank you for the reminder of our tragic community event. I did not know Meg, but know many who did and who attended church with her.

    I can no longer run, so couldn’t join others running that Sat., (due to MS), but I remember that Saturday. My daughter and I had gone somewhere and EVERYWHERE we went, we saw runners with purple (I think that is right color -her favorite color everyone wore). No matter where we turned, and even traveled to Glen Allen (not that far, I know), but on road by the mall, at the other shopping centers across from the mall, on Bell Creek Rd, etc… they were everywhere showing their support for the family and remembering Meg.

    It is tragic that this has to remind us, that One person can make a difference. It also reminds us that One choice can also make a difference. We tend to think, ‘oh well, it won’t matter much…’, however one simple little decision can impact our lives and the lives of others in good and tragic ways. I do hope that others stop to think before drinking and driving (& txting/driving) – Yes, even the next morning on the way surgery! I do pray for the doctor and his family as well as Meg’s family. After the funeral is always hardest, people have left and gone back to their ‘normal’ lives, so I hope those who surrounded them at the time of this tragedy will continue to be there day in and day out -for the good, bad and sometimes ugly; as they grieve and go through this process. I also hope that the community spirit we saw in coming together to run will continue on in other ways also.

    Thank you again for the reminder that life is precious and goes way too fast, and way too soon for many.

    • Thank you Tammy for sharing this information. I’m wearing that same #megsmiles t-shirt today. It’s difficult to make sense of it all. I am touched by the community response here locally, and the community of runners across the country. Life is indeed very precious and the choices we make (usually habit driven) do impact others. Some habits serve to love and support others. Other habits like distracted driving put other lives at risk.

  3. Thank you for sharing this Meg’s story, Brent. It is such a tragedy. This is not the kind of story we want to hear. And yet, there is comfort in seeing people come together and honor a Meg. I’m not sure there’s anything I can add that would be more eloquent than Solomon’s tribute to Meg.

  4. Reading this bought a lump to my throat. The consequences of the actions of the drunk driver can never be undone, but let’s hope that other drivers will read this and think twice before getting behind a wheel of a car drunk or using a mobile phone.

    I too run and have a family and I do get sometimes get unnerved by careless drivers, who seem oblivious to runners or cyclists.

    People need to be aware of how devastating the consequences of their actions can be. No one can ever bring her back and the actions of that driver can never be undone, her family have been robbed of a Mother, wife, sister, daughter or/and auntie and they will never fully get over that.

    The tribute left by Soloman was from the heart, but makes it clear that we really must appreciate every moment we have – good and bad – as we never know when it may come to an end.

    Thank you for bringing this story to peoples attention.

    • My pleasure Debbie. I’m happy to help in any way I can. I still can’t believe it happened here in my community. Life is very fragile. As drivers, it is an important lesson for all of us that there are consequences to our safety habits. Joggers, cyclists, and pedestrians should not have to fear for their lives doing what they love outdoors.

What are your thoughts?