Mollie Tibbetts Memorial Run to benefit Child Psychiatry

By Francie Williamson, Communications Coordinator, Department of Psychiatry

The third annual Mollie Tibbetts Memorial Run will look a little different this year, but the aim is the same: to honor her life.

The run, which is just over five miles, is set to start at 8:30 am Sunday, September 27 at the parking lot of BGM school in Brooklyn, Iowa. There is no registration fee, but donations will be accepted to benefit the Mollie Tibbetts fund to benefit child psychiatry at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. More information is available at

During the run, social distancing will be observed, and masks will be encouraged. Those who can’t make it to Brooklyn are encouraged to participate virtually and share photos of themselves on social media with the hashtag #milesformollie.

Tibbetts, who had just finished her first year at the University of Iowa, was an avid runner who disappeared while out for a run in Brooklyn in July 2018. Her body was later found in a corn field.

Laura Calderwood, Mollie’s mother, says her daughter found running therapeutic. 

“It was her time alone to think and go through life and how she’s going to tackle things,” Calderwood says. 

Although Calderwood did not organize the memorial run, she says she chooses to walk the course because it raises awareness of Mollie’s life and the circumstances women face.

“I’ve got so many letters from women all over the country saying, ‘we just want to go on a run and why do so many end up missing or raped or murdered…’ Why couldn’t my daughter go in nature and get her mind off things and not be murdered?”

Calderwood also is grateful that the run raises money for the fund she set up at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, which is now endowed and has raised more than $100,000 to date. Mollie planned to be a child psychologist, which is partly why Calderwood set up the fund.

“I thought, I need to set up something for the University of Iowa because her life was just blossoming there,” Calderwood says. “Right after everything happened with Mollie there was that golfer in Ames that was killed, and I read the story and thought, what if someone had helped that guy as a child. It said he had suffered mental illness his whole life. It’s so complicated, but if you help 1 out of 100 people, you’ve done something.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2020