HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — More than 100 local runners showed up to “Run for Eliza” early Friday morning at Huntsville’s Big Spring Park to honor Eliza Fletcher exactly one week after her abduction while on a morning run.
Huntsville resident Will Nevin chose to wake up extra early for his morning jog, joining others in showing solidarity for Fletcher at 4:30, the usual time she would go out for her jog.
“Running can often be a solitary experience, but it’s the community that can make you feel part of something larger,” Nevin told News 19. “And I think all of us felt this loss. Some felt it much differently. As a man I’ve never been harassed, I’ve never been catcalled. I’ve never been stalked while I was out running. But I know that people in our community face that every day.”
“For that [security] to be taken away, or now for it to be something you have to worry about, it’s really devastating,” nursing student Madison Thome said after completing the memorial run with friends.
Thome said she usually has felt safe during her morning runs, but that changed after seeing the news of Fletcher’s abduction and murder.
“My sister and I have had a lot of conversations just about what it looks like now and the dynamic that we’re feeling. That has shifted,” she said.
“We should not have to worry about whether we or our loved ones are gonna make it home, and that it’s not Eliza Fletcher’s fault,” Nevin added. “It’s not what she wore, it’s not what time she ran. It’s not anything because everybody deserves to feel safe and do something that they enjoy.”
“All these women and men who showed up in support [Friday], to just realize that we can be united in something so simple, yet so powerful,” Thome said.
Organizers of Friday morning’s run also referenced other murders like that of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia as examples that runners always deserve to feel safe.