Posted: Feb 3, 2012 6:39 PM by Angela Douglas - Q2 News
Updated: Feb 3, 2012 10:16 PM
BILLINGS - The disappearance of Sherry Arnold has rocked the eastern Montana community of Sidney, while also having an impact in the world of running.
Arnold went for a run on the morning of Saturday, January 7 and hasn't been seen since.
In the time since Sherry Arnold was last seen, two Colorado men have been arrested in connection with her disappearance.
Lester Waters Junior, 47, and Michael Spell, 22, are being held at the Williams County Jail in Williston, North Dakota as they await their extradition hearing later this month.
Investigators believe the 43-year-old math teacher is dead, but her body has not been found.
"It's really hit our town really hard," says Arnold's former student, Hope Barker. "She was honestly an amazing woman. It didn't matter if she had something else going on or if she was busy that day, if you needed help, you were her first priority."
It's a case that has not only devastated the community of Sidney, but has also shocked the running world.
"I had hundreds of people reach out to me and say how much her story touched them as runners, as mothers, as teachers," explains Arnold's cousin, Beth Risdon, of Longmont, Colorado. "People really felt this on a very personal level."
Although Beth Risdon only saw her cousin occasionally over the years, she and Arnold shared a bond through running.
"That was something we had in common," Risdon explains. "We both just had sort of this energy around it."
While the search continues for Arnold, Risdon is organizing an event to help family and friends find peace.
She is planning a virtual run in memory of Arnold next weekend. She's encouraging other runners to visit her website (shutupandrun.net), print out a bib with Sherry's picture on it, pin it on their shirt, and then go for a run.
"My hope for that day is that people simply wear the bib with her picture on it and go out there with the intention to think about her, and for healing and for positive energy," says Risdon.
The news of the virtual run has spread from coast to coast, with several group runs planned here in Montana.
Barker, now a sophomore at Rocky Mountain College, is organizing a run that will take place at RMC. She's hoping that this event is just the beginning of many more runs to come in honor of Arnold.
"We want to make this a yearly thing hopefully, so she's never forgotten," Barker says. "We don't want to forget her, we want her memory to live on since she was such an amazing woman."
Here's a list of a few group runs happening in our area:
Sidney - Sidney High School (wrestling families plan to walk at Rimrock Auto Arena during the state wrestling tournament that weekend)
Glendive - Dawson County High School
Hysham - Hysham School
Circle - McCone County Courthouse
Billings - RMC, Montana Cycling, Fitness 19
The virtual run is scheduled for 9 a.m. Mountain Standard Time on Saturday, February 11.