MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Hundreds of runners are planning to “Finish Liza’s Run” for the second year this Friday, as a memorial to Eliza Fletcher, a teacher who was kidnapped and killed last September during her morning running routine.
Fletcher was found dead behind an abandoned home in South Memphis three days after her abduction. Her alleged killer, Cleotha Henderson, has since been arrested and charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping in the case.
The run was created to honor Fletcher and emphasize that women should be able to safely and comfortably run any time of the day. Fellow runners also gathered from different cities last year to support Finish Liza’s Run.
Danielle Heineman organized the event last year and said they wanted to finish the run to address derogatory comments posted on social media about the hour Fletcher was running and the clothes she was wearing.
“We are going to wear shorts and a sports bra and not be completely covered up because we have a right to run comfortably,” she said. “There shouldn’t be an expectation that you’re gonna be abducted if you run at four in the morning in Memphis.”
This year’s organizers are Charlie Hayden and Beth Garrison.
“As runners, we don’t like to leave things undone. And it just felt like this was something quiet and private that we could do,” Garrison said. “And it started out that way. It’s just a few of us getting together and finishing this run and supporting each other and, you know, doing something in her memory. And it just kind of blossomed and grew from that.”
The event will take place on Sept. 1 at 4:20 a.m., which is the same time Fletcher was reportedly kidnapped.
“I don’t want runners, or women, or Memphians to feel like they lost more than just her,” Hayden said. “I don’t want us to feel like we’re not safe. I don’t want us to feel like we don’t have a community. I don’t want us to feel like we can’t run.”
The 8.2-mile course will start at Central Avenue and South Belvedere Boulevard and run east on Central Avenue to Zach Curlin Street. There will also be water stops provided at three locations.
As safety is a priority during this run, Memphis Police and Memphis Fire Department will be in attendance along with course marshals and road closures set in place.
There will be no shuttles this year but street parking is permitted. Runners can also park at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception until 7 a.m. After 7 a.m. cars must be gone for proper flow of school drop-offs.
All participants are asked to:
- Wear bright colors and a bright light if you have it
- Respect the neighborhoods as it will be early morning
- Do not bring dogs
- Do not bring/ride bikes
- All paces are welcome but it is asked to complete the distance by 7 a.m.
Registration to Finish Liza’s Run can be found here.