RICHMOND, Va. -- Thousands of people across the country ran more than two miles on Friday to honor the life and birthday of 25-year-old Armuad Arbery, an unarmed black man who was shot and killed by two white men while going on a run in Georgia in February.
“Just the thought of something like that happening here in Richmond was enough to bring me to tears during my run," Jacki Quinlan said.
Jacki Quinlan has been a avid runner in Richmond and works as Director of Community outreach at Sportbackers.
On Friday she joined thousands of runners across country to complete exactly 2.23 miles.
“For me it was a very, and I’m sure a lot of others, it was a very sobering run," Quinlan said.
The 2.23 represents February 23. That day, this year Arbery was shot to death in Georgia while going for a run.
Nikkia Young is an avid Richmond Runner and a black woman. She said she knows firsthand the anxiety and potential dangers of running as an African American.
“I wear a spotlight because I usually run in the morning and people think that you’re trying to break into their cars," Young said. "And so it’s one of those things where I know that fear.”
She hopes that runners are able to do more than just run to bring awareness to the violence and prejudice that African Americans experience.
“Don’t let it stop at your 2.23 miles," Young said. "Think about what’s the next step. How can you be an ally."
“I mean I purposely thought about, not just the situation for Ahmaud but really what that could mean for the running community here in Richmond, particularly the black men that are cubical to our RunRVA clubs," Quinlan said.
Quinlan believes that the focus should now be on the kids who run and the impact that the shooting could have on them.
“Really the focus needs to be on how we all as coaches and role models can make sure that kids are excited about running but also know that there are dangers but we need to make sure its safe that kids can get out and run," Quinlan added.
Young says she won’t stop running but she will be more aware of her surroundings.
Gregory McMichael and his son, Travis McMichael were taken into custody Thursday evening. Travis faces felony murder and aggravated assault charges, while his father faces party to felony murder and aggravated assault charges.
They both were booked in Glynn County Jail and were denied bond.