The Villa cross country team didn't know Claire Allen personally. They were separated by state lines and nearly 160 miles. But the team decided to honor Claire, the 14-year-old girl who was killed in a tragic car accident on September 7 while running along Route 39 during a training run in Geneseo, New York. Villa cross country coach Therese Brown remarked, "It could have been any of them, and they realized that. It touched close to home and it was meaningful, so they decided to honor her."
Coach Brown noticed on the McQuaid Invitational website that Geneseo will be using the colors purple and lime green to honor the life of Claire Allen on the day of the race and all schools are invited to join in that token of remembrance. The team decided to make about 40 black and pink ribbons to honor of Allen (the website initially had asked teams to wear black wristbands, but later changed it to green and purple, which were Allen's favorite colors).
Villa Maria Academy runners pinned the ribbons to their bibs and to the collar on the jersey shoulder. Many more teams beyond VMA also displayed thoughtful gestures, including wristbands and other tokens of respect. The team took a picture of the ribbons and posted them to Twitter afterward, hoping the message might reach Allen's team in some small way.