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Pre-dawn group run to honor murdered relative of local business owner

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By Jason Bacaj MANAGING EDITOR 

BIG SKY – A run honoring a Memphis woman who was abducted and killed while running in the early morning on Sept. 2 will take place Friday morning at 4:20 a.m. leaving from the Trove West in Big Sky Meadow Village.

Kate Tompkinson, owner of Trove West, is a close family member of the woman, 34-year-old Eliza Fletcher, who was taken. Tompkinson heard that cities around the country have been rallying around the idea that women should be able to run without fear at any time of day and decided to hold her own event. 

“Big Sky needed to finish Liza’s run too,” she said.

The run will start from Trove West at 4:20 a.m.—the time Fletcher was kidnapped—and cross over the golf course and loop back to the beginning along Little Coyote Road, Tompkinson said. She added that it’s not a fundraiser, simply an act to show that women hold power and control over their own lives. 

“We should be able to run at any time we want and not be scared,” Tompkinson said.

Fletcher’s mother is her first cousin and the two have remained close after growing up together, Tompkinson said Thursday. Fletcher was an ultrarunner, mother of two and a schoolteacher. Tompkinson was also a runner—she has completed the Boston Marathon in the past—and a mother, so she understood why Fletcher was on a pre-dawn run.

“I had to run when I could, sometimes it wasn’t convenient. Sometimes it was dark at night,” Tompkinson said.

The exact distance of the run isn’t set, but Tompkinson said at most it will cover a few miles. She anticipates upwards of 50 people will attend the run.

“I’m so incredibly grief-stricken that there’s hardly a word for it. It feels a little bit good to be able to do something,” Tompkinson said. “I’ve been so incredibly overwhelmed with the number of people that instantly were like, ‘I’m in’.”

The Big Sky run will be one of many “Let’s Finish Liza’s Run” events that have sprung up across the country in honor of Fletcher, all taking place early tomorrow morning.

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