I have been running for quite some time now. The great thing about running for me is that it allows me to be open to my creative side. Allowing me to be more aware of my surroundings. However, in the same breath I am aware of the dangers women face running alone. (There are no statistics tracking female jogger deaths specifically.) Take the infamous Central Park jogger case, when a beating and rape put a 28-year-old woman into a coma for 12 days, captivated America for years, and led to one of the most notorious false-imprisonment cases of all time. More recently, a string of three brutal unrelated deaths have made the news. Alexandra “Ally” Brueger, a 31-year-old nurse from Michigan, was shot and killed during an afternoon jog. A few days later, 30-year-old Karina Vetrano was found strangled after she set off on an afternoon run in Queens. Shortly after that, 27-year-old Vanessa Marcotte, a Google employee who was visiting her parents in Massachusetts, was found dead, burned, and possibly sexually assaulted. She, too, had gone out running that afternoon. That narrative also gave female runners a sense that certain behaviors could protect us: not running after dark and avoiding remote areas, for instance. But these women, were all out in broad daylight.
Here are some safety tips on how to protect yourself while running or walking alone, no matter where you are:
- Always be aware of your surroundings
- Never run in the dark even though attacks have happened in the day time
- Always let someone know where you will be running and how long you will be gone
- NEVER EVER share social media pictures with a location attached to it
- If you listen to music, use only one ear bud. This allows you to hear anyone coming up behind you
- Don’t wear a ponytail. Silly as that may seem, someone can use that to take you down to the ground. Instead hide your hair in a baseball cap
- DO NOT RELY on your cell phone for help, the number one item that will be taken away from you.
I use our GPS tracker watch, it has an SOS button on it that is easily accessed to press. There are 18 programmable numbers on it. There is real time tracking. It looks just like a watch! There is a special mechanism to the watch, that we will not divulge unless we speak with you. We do this, so it does not end up in the wrong hands. There is an app for IOS/Android so your family/loved ones can know where you are while running or anytime when you are alone. It is extremely important that we place an added layer of security to our everyday living. Our world has changed, and we have to protect ourselves from harm.
Running remains my favorite activity in the world. It’s a profoundly solitary sport, one that forces me to be aware of both my mind and my body in a way that nothing else does; one that manages to be simultaneously meditative and exhilarating. Best of all, it’s remarkably freeing — or as close to freeing as I can get in a world where, to survive, women must constantly alter our behavior in the interest of our own safety.
Please share your stories with me.