Race Day Inspiration: Krista Simpson

Photo by Ingrid Barrentine of Grit City Photography. Krista Simpson pausing at her husband's flag at her local wear blue chapter Saturday run.

Photo by Ingrid Barrentine of Grit City Photography. Krista Simpson pausing at her husband's flag at her local wear blue chapter Saturday run.

This Sunday is a wear blue race day.  I love wear blue race days… the energy. The purpose. The impact. And I get to meet so many amazing people!  Over 40 runners are tackling the inaugural Rock’n’Roll Raleigh Marathon and Half-Marathon, and over 50 volunteers will be a part of the wear blue Mile, bearing American flags in honor and remembrance of America’s fallen service members.  We are a people who understand and appreciate the incredible service and sacrifice of the American military.  

While always united in our mission, all wear blue members have their own poignant and unique stories.  Below, I share the words and story of a brave woman who volunteered on the wear blue Mile in Seattle in 2013.  I am humbled to belong the same community as Krista Simpson, and proud to honor families like hers in the steps of our runs, murmuring of our words, and life of our mission.  With men and women possessing courage and poise like Krista Simpson carrying out the mission this weekend, I know that it is going to be another successful and meaningful wear blue race day.
- LH

Krista Simpson:

“Twenty-one days after deploying from Fort Lewis, my husband, SSG Michael H. Simpson, was wounded in Afghanistan.  That fateful day was 27 April 2013.  I was flown to Landstuhl Army Medical Center in Germany to see Mike and say goodbye before he passed away on 1 May 2013.  On 4 May 2013, while Mike’s family and I were still in Germany, my good friends attended wear blue: run to remember in Dupont, Washington.  The Saturday after I returned home, 11 May 2013, I attended my first wear blue Saturday run.  The group was welcoming and supportive.  As I approached mile 1 on the 3 mile route, there was a straight trail ahead of me filled with a sea of blue shirts.  The sea of blue shirts made me realize we were all there for the same reason.  It was the first time I did not feel alone.  The support from the wear blue: run to remember community had been incredible.

The Rock‘n’Roll Marathon in Seattle was on 22 June 2013.  Volunteering for the wear blue Mile, I held a flag from which a ribbon with my husband’s name embroidered on it hung. It was great to see all the volunteers and be a part of the event.  As the runners started coming through the mile and we cheered them on, many  expressed their gratitude in ways that were tremendously touching.  A number of runners saluted, others ran by holding their hearts, many removed their caps and held it over their hearts, some were crying.  Regardless, they all said “Thank you.” This showed me that my husband’s death, along with every other soldier who made the Ultimate Sacrifice, really affected people.  Not only did Mike’s death mean something to me, but to it also meant something to all the strangers that ran by.   I stood tall holding a flag that symbolized that someone I loved had given everything, had made the Ultimate Sacrifice, for each and every one of us.  I was extremely proud of Mike.  wear blue has not only been healing, but has been and continues to be a source of strength for me.

Our loved ones, those who have made the Ultimate Sacrifice, will not be forgotten, in part because of wear blue.  They make sure of that every Saturday run and during every event.  On 12 October 2013, our sons Michael (almost 4) and Gabriel (almost 2) accompanied me to wear blue.  As it came time to yell my husband’s name in the Circle of Remembrance, our son Michael yelled out, “My Daddy”.  I wished more than anything my husband was still here; however, I was comforted knowing that the boys and I were part of something much larger.  I realized we were now a part of the wear blue family and they will support us through everything."