A Father and Runner Lost

Oh Michael, we hardly knew ye. I accepted a Facebook friend request this month from Michael. I recognized his face from my local running club and clicked "accept" on the request.  I don't think I ever had a lengthy conversation with him. We likely exchanged friendly glances before and after a lot of early morning runs. I would see him often on our "out and back" routes either coming or going. He always seemed to be surrounded by running friends who enjoyed running with him. He looked like he loved the sport as I do. With a sore leg and a race last weekend, I skipped my running group's saturday run. In the coffee shop that morning, we overheard talk about someone who died working out earlier that day. I shuddered at the thought and went about my day without running.

In the afternoon, I saw a Facebook post from my running friend Donna about the loss of a runner. I learned that Michael was struck and killed by a car on the return loop of an out-and-back around Downing and Speer in Denver. A father struck down the day before father's day.  I was shocked and didn't know how to process this news. Why does someone have to die doing something that's supposed to improve your health and quality of life.

Michael loved to run and had qualified for Boston. A divorced dad who had run New York and Chicago Marathons. He was certainly looking forward to lacing them up in Hopkinton. Like me, he was in technology working for Comcast.   He lived in my childhood home of Littleton, Colorado. As my wife read the posts on Facebook from his loved ones, she cried. His story read like mine. I can't understand why someone had to die before his time.

Shoe memorial at the scene
I'd ironically been thinking about writing about the dangers of running, but it has been tough to put thoughts into words. In April, Michael Sanders was hit and killed on Hampden in Denver. Thirteen miles from my house...a half marathon away. Images of his running shoes on the side of the road burned into my brain. Be careful I told myself. Less than two months ago, Sherry Lynn Peters of Highlands Ranch was killed while running when she was caught in the crossfire of a multi-car crash one mile from my house. Flowers still adorn the traffic signal post at the fateful intersection I drive by nearly every day. I've stopped and left a note. I didn't know Sherry, but I know she left behind a family. She was merely 54 years old. Too close to home. Too young to die. Tragic. I can only assume that she too died doing something she loved. Senseless.

Most runners have had close calls as we all run on the sidestreets where we live. I've "tapped" many a car's right rear quarter panel as drivers pull into traffic only looking for cars. Drivers turning right onto a street most often only look to their left for oncoming cars. Cars run red lights and speed through yellow lights. Too many people can't set down their phones while driving. Texting about life's mundane bullshit. Nothing worth the cost of a life. I've been guilty of texting and have trained my kids to "call me on it" if they catch me trying to work while driving.  I have also run into intersections that I probably shouldn't have. 

On Facebook, posts of admiration and love are flooding in for a a man who touched many lives.
"I will miss you."

"I have been truly blessed to have you in my life."

"You always believed in me more than I ever could."

"What a genuine guy!"

"I so appreciate the faith you had for me about getting into Boston."

It's ridiculous to think of any words that can make sense of this. Michael's passing makes you realize how precious life is and to try to make the most of time you've got. Even though I didn't know him well at all, he's made an impression on me as clearly a great man that died doing something he loved. It makes me wish I got to know him better. I'm sure he will influence me and many others to be as careful as possible when we walk out the door for a run. I'm also sure that should I run Boston next April, I will wear his name or say a prayer for Michael although I barely knew ye. My thoughts and prayers are with Michael's loved ones who are coping with his passing.


  1. Touching post, Ty. The tragic loss of our running friend is a sad reminder that there is always danger out there. Be safe.

  2. Thank you for remembering our brother through your posting. We all miss him.
    Kris, Susan, Lisa, Leslie, Billy, Barbara, Lynn and Robbie.

  3. Ty has a loving, caring, and passionate heart with a mind and brain to express his feelings for those who touch his life.

  4. Mike was a class act. I'm heartbroken. I appreciate your post not only tributing Mike but also Sherry. Life is precious and it sucks it takes an event like this to remind us of it. I'll never forget Mike, never.

  5. Run carefully my running friends. A sad day for runners everywhere.

  6. I'm sorry for your loss.


  7. So sad and senseless. My thoughts and prayers are with these families. You are so right about cars turning right and never looking to the right...I've thought about how to get their attention but haven't ever tapped the car...maybe I'll try that! Most of the time I just look at them and shake my head...but if they are paying attention, I always thank them.

  8. This is such a sad and tragic story. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Stay safe out there fellow runners!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts