Meg Soles of Love is located at the one-mile mark along the Boston Marathon course.
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - A Hanover mother killed while running in January will be honored in a big way at the Boston Marathon. This year as the running community comes together to move forward from last year's bombings, there will also be an outpouring of support for Meg Menzies along the race course.
Meg Soles of Love stands tall along the course, right at the one-mile mark in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. It's a sculpture of sorts made entirely of running shoes donated by people who knew Meg and complete strangers. It's next to the well-known Spirit of the Marathon statue. Every runner who passes by will see it.
Meg Soles of Love is the brainchild of Boston resident Kel Kelly. "Humanity rises in an amazing way when there's a tragedy," Kelly told 8News over Skype today. "That's what's happened around the marathon and I think for Meg. People from around the world have surrounded her with love and elevated her entire story."
Kelly never met Meg but through the running community learned about #megsmiles just days after the runner's death by a suspected drunk driver. Kelly knew she had to do something to help Meg's family heal, so she put out the call for running shoes. To date, 700+ pairs have come in from runners as far away as Australia.
"They actually wrote little messages of love or their location on the shoes." Kelly adds with a smile, "Virginia sent the most pairs, absolutely, unequivocably hand-down. So the love that came from Virginia was incredible, and they're all displayed prominently on the structure. It radiates love like I've never experienced before."
After the marathon, Kelly will give all the shoes to the 26.2 Foundation to donate to a charity in Meg's honor. Anyone in Boston for the race is invited to stop by Meg Soles of Love to add a pair of shoes to the structure designed to help keep Meg's light shining on the sport she loved so much.
"On my forearm there's actually a tattoo that says be kind and ignite happiness, and that's just how I go through life," says Kelly. "I can't imagine the loss that Meg's husband, her children and her mom are feeling, and I think if you have an opportunity to create a little kindness and happiness, take it."
As we reported yesterday, Scott Menzies will be in Boston to run the marathon in honor of his late wife.