Safety when Running
Logan Forbis after Half Marathon
I was about to walk out my side door when I realized I almost forgot my pepper spray and knife. When I finally made it outside I turned my music on a low volume to still be able to hear my surroundings and started my run. My runs didn’t always require this much prep work, though. It wasn’t until the second car within the month started following lone female runners that I began to fear for my own safety.
I’ve been living at home for the spring semester of my virtual year at college, which has led to lots of runs, taking the same neighborhood loop. I even ran a virtual half marathon back in December.
Like many, my love for crime podcasts already had me on edge. But when my mom got a text from our neighbor about a man masturbating to her. I was disgusted. But most of all, I was afraid.
Our neighbor, Janet Smith, was on her daily 8:30 morning walk with her old labrador, Charlie, when things quickly escalated. Smith began to notice a car mimicking her route. “I immediately thought, I have seen that car several times in this short walk,” Smith said. Despite being on edge, Smith continued to walk. “I thought no way something weird will happen to me,” Smith said.
The car pulled up next to Smith, she assumed it was to ask her a question. The driver rolled down his passenger window to reveal himself masturbating. Smith went into a state of shock. “We made eye contact briefly and I quickly turned my head and continued to walk. He drove away and my body started shaking,” Smith recalled.
Smith quickly took her story to fellow neighbors and our neighborhood “Nextdoor” app. The volume of people sharing the same stories
was disheartening. Despite filing a police report the offender has
not been found.
What happened to Smith has happened to other females in the neighborhood. These events have evoked a fear filled atmosphere in a once safe environment.
Libby Wakefield, my nextdoor neighbor, is a junior in high school training for her first half marathon. Going on runs almost daily, the sightings have caused a change in Wakefield’s routine. Wakefield said “now I go with another person, bring pepper spray, stay close to home, and only run in the daylight.”
Many people in the neighborhood are starting to recognize the problem and speak up if they see something. “It’s definitely really creepy and
eye-opening now that something like this is happening to people I
know,” Wakefield said. As of the writing of this article no suspects
have been identified.