You occasionally hear news stories about a runner who is struck and killed by a motorist and pause to wonder, what if that happened to me or someone I knew? Sadly, on the morning of June 16th, it did happen to someone in the Denver running family: Mike Fontes. Reports indicate that Mike was trying to beat a red light during a training run – something we all do without thinking – and was hit and killed by a van.
Reactions to this tragedy ranged from numbness, to disbelief, to overwhelming sadness, and there was an outpouring of blog posts and Facebook updates from people sharing their feelings, memories and asking many a “What if?”. Here is a small excerpt from a post written by Mike Kennedy, one of the last people to run with Mike on that tragic day:
“I wish Mike had stuck with us. I wish he would have turned around instead of just slowing down. I wish that he would have stopped to tie his shoe instead of crossing at that moment. Anything to keep him away from that intersection for just a few seconds. Instead, it ended in tragedy and with a lot of people grieving.
Though I am sad and brokenhearted, I realize how lucky I was to run with Michael Fontes for the past few years. Over the many miles, we shared our dreams and frustrations. Sometimes we talked about nothing, speaking just to pass the time on a difficult run. Almost always, we laughed. This morning, I had a fun conversation with a friend. A friend I was fortunate to know.”
This is just one of the many stories shared over the last two weeks. Every story, every memory paints the picture of a man who was a friend to everyone who knew him. A man who will be deeply missed.
It was amazing to see the number of people who came out, many were friends of Mike or just runners who wanted to show their support to his family and friends. It wasn’t a solemn occasion either. It was a celebration of life and of running. It was a time for people to share their fondest stories of Mike Fontes and enjoy a good run together. It’s what he would have wanted.Tweet