The tragic events that took place on February 14 at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 people, including cross country coach Scott Beigel.
As a nation, we rallied behind the school and the community, but on a more personal level, it impacted our running community. Chad Williams, a student-athlete who ran for Beigel, spoke out about the tragic events to us earlier in the week and helped orchestrate a local run and candlelight vigil after seeing New Jersey powerhouse Christian Brothers Academy start an event of their own to pay their respects.
"We hope every team and runner across the country can get out for a run and post a photo on Instagram or Twitter. Let's use #runwithcoachbeigel and #runwithMSDXC to let the students and staff in Parkland know that they have friends in the running community," CBA XC Head Coach Sean McCafferty said. "Please spread the word."
Williams event, which is called, "Parkland's Run 4 Beigel & The 16 Other Victims," will be held Tuesday, February 20 at 5:00 p.m. at Pine Trails Park.
"It will be located near the amphitheater at Pine Trails Park where all the crosses are for the victims," he said. "We are going to have food and beverages for everyone. It is not a serious race. The route is like a quarter mile lap. Afterwards, we will have a candle light vigil, lanterns going off and speeches."
The senior will speak about his former coach and how the events of last week impacted his life. Not only did he lose a coach and a mentor, he said, but he also lost one of his best friends, someone who he had been in contact with just two hours prior. Another teammate of his faces an uphill battle after being shot three times.
"Our coach died a hero," he told us earlier this week. "This was his first year coaching us but he was an amazing coach. We just want to get the community together and this is the best way I think we can."
We have already heard from several athletes and teams who plan to attend the event. If you're in there area go out and show your support and make sure to post on social media using the hashtags #runwithcoachbeigel #runwithmsdxc or #Douglasstrong and #neveragain.