An effort to turn tragedy into triumph: Runners across the country and here at home are dedicating their runs to Mollie Tibbetts, the University of Iowa student who was kidnapped while jogging and later killed.
One of those runs happened Tuesday night in Harlem: “I think she would want people to continue running and not let something like this stop us,” a runner, Ashley Zimmerman, told NewsChannel 6.
Mollie Tibbetts was last seen alive on July 18th. Police say Christhian Rivera told them he saw Tibbetts running then drove to her. Later, he parked his car and started running near her. Rivera now sits in jail and is charged with first degree murder.
“Being a part of something this big just shows support for Mollie’s family and her friends back home that she is not forgotten,” Tammy Daniels, the event organizer, explained.
At least 20 people plus furry friends dedicated their weekly run to the victim. Harlem Runners Group meets every Tuesday night for a 2 mile jog and comradery.
Daniels said Tibbetts murder has opened her eyes when she takes part in her favorite hobby: “Women are vulnerable, especially when they are out alone… running.”
But the Harlem Running Club does not play around when it comes to safety. Using a “buddy system,” the runners always run in groups: “We also have a page, so we reach out to each other to see if anyone wants to go for a run,” Zimmerman added.
And for Mollie Tibbetts, Harlem runners told us her legacy will live on through runners here and nationwide.
Zimmerman said running with the group is always a bonding time, but Tuesday was unlike any other: “To run for someone we don’t know because of such a tragedy, it brings people together. It shows you can have compassion for people even if you don’t know who they are.”
If you are interested in learning more about the Harlem Runners Group, CLICK HERE.