So this week is Runner Safety Week. In addition to many articles detailing tips and advice, there is a weeklong Event held by The Run Collective in NYC. It always feels so impersonal reading these tips from your computer or your phone. “This could never happen to me!” “It would never happen where I live, it’s safe here!” I know, because I used to be one of those people. Until it happened in my city, to one of my very good friends.
I can still remember the text. We were supposed to leave to head to Raleigh for New Year’s Eve with friends. I was just waking up when I read it. “I’m in the hospital. Someone attacked me on my run.” I froze. This can’t happen, not to her, she runs all the time and she’s always fine! But it wasn’t fine, and it did happen. While my friend was out for her morning run, a man jumped out at her with a knife. She very thankfully got away by grabbing the blade of the knife and was able to run into the street where a very kind Navy Sailor stopped and helped her. I was frantic. “Are you okay?!” “What happened??” “What hospital are you at?” “Do you want me to come there?!” Then, as we always ask after women are attacked, “Why were you running alone in the dark?! I would’ve came with you!”
It is a sad reality that people (especially women) cannot go out for a run alone without having to worry about what could happen; it is unfortunately the reality that we live in. I watched my friend go through months and months of doctor’s appointments and physical therapy to regain full use of her hand. Then, many months later, she went out to run again. I’m so happy to say that she still goes out for her daily run. She is one of the strongest people that I know.
My message to you is this: Nobody should have to go through what my friend did, but it happens every day. It can happen in your city and it can happen to those people you love. While all these articles and conferences may seem very distant to you, please take in what they have to say. All of these tips and advice are meant to help you and to protect you.