This morning, thousands of people across America gathered to finish a run that Eliza Fletcher started last Friday morning.
Organized by volunteers, this mornings run was to honor Fletcher, a 34 year old wife, mother and teacher who was kidnapped while she during her pre-dawn run in Memphis, Tennessee. Her remains were found four days later and Cleotha Abston, 38 was identified and charged with kidnapping and killing her.
There is a long history of women disappearing while jogging and according to a 2022 National Women’s Running Survey, 47% of women said they’ve been verbally harassed or cat-called when running. Almost 11% said they had been followed or intimidated.
Before heading out for a run here are some runner safety tips from the Road Runners Club of America:
- Be Alert: Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Trust your intuition: If something doesn’t feel right, you may be in danger.
- Move away from verbal harassment: Ignoring “catcalling” is the best way to diminish that behavior by others.
- Get self defense training: Learn how to defend yourself and strategies from getting away from an attacker.
- Vary your routine: Select various routes so your routine is not too predictable when running alone. Be thoughtful about what you post online about your routes.
- Plan your routes with safety in mind: Run in familiar areas that allow you to safely alter your route as needed.
- Run with a club/crew: Running with a group increases your safety.
- Be visible in the dark: Wear reflective clothing or a lighted vest when running in the dark. Be thoughtful about running in unlit areas with poor visibility. Don’t run in the middle of the road when it’s dark
- Carry your cell phone: Text a friend or family member so they know you are out on your run. Find apps that can safely track your run.
- Carry ID: Slip it in your cell phone case or consider a Road ID that has pertinent medical information.
- Be street smart: Run against traffic. Look both ways crossing an intersection/crosswalk. Obey traffic signals.
- Run on sidewalks: When available, run on sidewalks.
- Never trust a driver: Drivers are distracted and you are not their first priority. Don’t assume they will give you the right of way at a crosswalk.
- Be smart about headphone use : Keep the volume low enough that you can maintain awareness of your surroundings. Don’t zone-out in unpopulated areas – especially on quiet trails.
- CALL POLICE: If something happens to you or someone else, get to safety. Try to record a situation if you need evidence and do so safely. Call the police once you are safe!