Beth Risdon never got to train for a marathon with her cousin, Sherry Arnold.
It’s a goal that will never be achieved.
Arnold, a Sidney teacher and avid runner, is believed to have been abducted as she started a run the morning of Jan. 7. Officials believe she was killed. Her body has yet to be found, and two men are awaiting extradition to Montana to face kidnapping charges.
“We never had the chance to train together, which is something I regret,” Risdon said. “I got into running kind of late in the game.”
The wait in finding Arnold’s body has been trying on her family.
“It’s just the lack of closure,” Risdon said. “Obviously, there hasn’t been a funeral yet and honestly, I think it’s probably getting harder with the passing days.”
To honor her cousin and raise awareness to runners everywhere, Risdon is hosting a virtual run, providing bib numbers showing support for Arnold and encouraging people across the country to join in.
The virtual run is on Saturday, Feb. 11. Risdon is asking runners to hit the pavement and think of Arnold.
“When this happened to Sherry, I couldn’t believe the outpouring of people contacting me and saying that they were going out and doing races and thinking about her and running and dedicating their run to her,” Risdon said. “With all the momentum and people reaching out to me, I felt they knew me and felt I was a connection to Sherry.”
Risdon wanted to put that positive energy to good use by putting on the run. The support has been overwhelming.
“I have people from South Africa, Turkey, Puerto Rico — all over the world let alone coast to coast of the United States — contact me saying they are planning runs,” Risdon said. “It’s become even more of a community thing than I even anticipated.”
In Billings, Montana Cycling and Ski is organizing a Feb. 11 run. The event will begin at 9 a.m. and feature six-mile and three-mile runs along bike paths in the area. Walkers are welcome to participate. The store is at 824 Shiloh Crossing Boulevard.
To sign up for the run or to learn more, visit Risdon’s blog at http://www.shutupandrun.net/2012/01/virtual-run-for-sherry-arnold-february.html