Thousands of people in cities across the U.S. finished Eliza’s run Friday morning.
The runs were organized as a tribute to Eliza Fletcher, who was forced into a vehicle after a struggle during her pre-dawn run last Friday in Memphis, Tenn. A suspect was swiftly identified and has been charged with her kidnapping and murder.
Police on Tuesday said they had found Fletcher’s body after an exhaustive search throughout the long weekend with dogs, ATVs and a helicopter in a case that has drawn national media attention.
The killing of the 34-year-old kindergarten teacher and mother of two shocked people nationwide, and was particularly upsetting to women runners. An obituary described Fletcher as a “born athlete” who enjoyed spending time outside with her husband and children.
Her case is the latest that reinforces the fear that many women athletes have when it comes to working out alone, at night or in secluded places. While crime statistics show these types of attacks are exceedingly rare, the fear they inspire is real, and many women report harassment or assaults, even in well-populated areas.
In response to her death, groups of runners decided to “Finish Eliza’s Run” in the pre-dawn darkness Friday morning, a week after her slaying. Many wore pink tops and purple shorts in her honour.
Groups ran in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga and many other cities and towns around the country. Hundreds logged their runs on a website dedicated to the event.