Rebecca Gartrell, a 48-year-old "ultrarunner" who had completed numerous 100-mile races, marathons, and Ironman competitions, was tragically killed in a hit-and-run while attempting to run across the entire state of Texas.
Always looking for a challenge, Gartrell came up with the idea of traversing Texas after so many competitive races were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She planned to document the entire experience on a blog managed by her friend Rebecca Reeves.
"She wanted people to be motivated and inspired by that, for whatever their journey is, whatever their passion is, to keep going and keep pursuing it," Reeves recounted, saying that the blog, "gained a bit of a following."
She and her husband outfitted a van with beds that would allow the runner to sleep in between various legs of her trek. Meticulous planning had her on pace to complete the journey in 21 days, averaging 42 miles per day.
Rebecca had finished 261 miles of the journey when Reeves noticed that her friend had not arrived at her checkpoint as scheduled. When she backtracked, she found Rebecca's body laying by the side of the road. A driver had hit her and driven off rather than stopping to administer aid or call for help. Authorities currently have no lead in the case.
Gartrell leaves behind a husband and two children.