Run Lizzie Run
My name is Liz Dunning. On March 11, 2017 - my Mom's 70th birthday, I ran the DC Rock N Roll Marathon in her memory and honor. My mom was murdered more than 13 years ago, answering the door of her own home. I was twenty six years old.
The killer was mentally ill, and got away. It would take more than 10 years to bring him to justice, and not before he killed two other wonderful human beings. He was convicted of all three murders and a variety of related charges on November 2, 2015 - All Soul's Day.
My mom was my best friend and when I thought about how to celebrate our milestone birthdays (I turn 40 in April.), I decided to run a marathon because I'm a runner and that was the hardest thing I could think of. (The beautiful symmetry of 26 miles for 26 years together occurred to me later.) It turns out that when you're wanting to do something to acknowledge the death of your amazing Mom, hard, grueling things sound about right.
I decided to raise money for gun violence prevention because guns are what killed my Mom. It's that simple.
I decided to write about it because, when I went out for my first long run after hatching this plan, every step felt different - because I was taking it for her. I was thinking about experiences and details that I hadn't in a long time. I thought that, as I trained my body to run 26 miles on her birthday, I would need to train my mind and my heart, too.
And, this whole project is called Run Lizzie Run for three reasons:
1) This is what my Mom said to me when she cheered me on when I ran a marathon at 23. Lizzie is what she called me.
2) I had a Run Lizzie Run shirt made for the race, so that bystanders would be likely to cheer "Run Lizzie Run," too - so that I could hear my mom's voice through the voice of strangers, friends and family, lifting me through the miles. I love the idea of people using these words for me, mostly without even knowing their significance. I like the idea of a world where we do those things for each other.
3) Running is one of the things that I have done all along to help my brain process and clarify all that I have experienced. This is not about sadness, not entirely anyway. This is about movement, progress, and hopefully triumph.
Thanks for reading.