The running community rallied and created a fundraiser to cover funeral expenses. Within hours, the initial target had been well exceeded, including a $10,000 donation from the race creator, Matthew Inman aka The Oatmeal. The grateful family announced that they would use the funds to finish building a family orchard, and donate the produce to local food banks. I had already contributed a few dollars before hearing this, but was very happy to learn of these plans.
A 5K memorial run in Evan's honor was also set up for Sunday, November 2. I ran it virtually, along the Embarcadero in San Francisco. I had posted about it to the event page, but didn't really expect anyone to join me, given the conflict with the US Half Marathon and the fact that I needed to start at 7:30 in order to get to my regular volunteer shift in time. Despite having spent the entire previous week at home with a bad cold, I gave it my all, and finished with a personal record: 28:35, running the third mile in 8:59, another milestone. Running nine-minute miles now feels like running ten-minute miles used to. Certainly the testosterone helps, but I wouldn't be able to run that fast without training.
Running is a necessity to me. It isn't a chore that I do reluctantly like washing the dishes or paying bills. Challenging my heart and lungs and legs while exposed to the elements makes me feel alive. I could never get this feeling on a treadmill in front of a TV monitor. Inman writes about this in his book, The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances, which I highly recommend. No one has to run an ultra-marathon or even a 10K to get a runner's high, but if you hate running and you've never run more than a mile, you haven't really given it a fair chance.
Of course, some people have orthopedic injuries or live in dangerous areas or have other perfectly valid reasons to work out on specialized equipment. Brisk walking on a treadmill is certainly better than no exercise at all. Regardless, being sedentary is far more of a risk than the very remote possibility that you'll drop dead of a heart attack at mile 12 of a 13 mile race. All of us who rallied for Evan understood this. We love to run, we run to live.