I don’t like to dwell on the news. I don’t like to entertain the negativity in the world. For every moment we spend talking about something negative, we’re ignoring what is good. I like to feed myself, to the point of gluttony, with the things that remind me to have faith in humanity and the world. Growing up I was always called naïve and vulnerable (I still say it’s my magic) because of my faith in people. I am going to be a hypocrite for this post.
There has been a lot of unsettling news lately regarding young women and running that has hit too close to home. We’ve all heard the news of beautiful Katrina Vetrano, the NYC runner who was murdered last week. Katrina, also in her 30s (also a blogger/writer who was extremely talented), was on her daily run. Something that she did every night according to her family. Something that I am sure she was also passionate about. Something that I am positive she never expected do be doing moments before her brutal attack that ended her life. My stomach has been turning ever since I heard this story until today, when it stopped turning, only to turn in the opposite direction, with regards to the story of Vanessa Marcotte, another woman who was murdered while running. Both young, beautiful, both full of life, both running is broad daylight, both enjoying their passions.
Like I mentioned in a recent Facebook post that I wrote regarding Katrina:
“This story is getting more and more horrifying. I understand that this isn’t the first or last time that something like this will happen but for some reason, this one hits closer to home. I’m also in my 30s, also a runner, and while I live in what’s considered hands down a relatively safer area anything can happen at any time! I worry all the time while on the roads. And this was in BROAD DAYLIGHT. Nobody should have to worry about this happening to themselves, let alone in broad daylight. My heart breaks for this beautiful young woman’s family. I still have faith and hope for humanity. I have hope that the NYPD gets a positive lead. I hope this murderer can’t sleep ever again in his life due to the remembrance of his actions.”
I shouldn’t have to be scared to run.
I shouldn’t have to be terrified to do what I love. I shouldn’t have to “watch what I wear.” I shouldn’t have to look over my shoulder every third second to be sure someone isn’t following me (mainly because I am a klutz and I will most likely trip and set myself up for failure anyway). It’s no way to live, however, this is the world we’re living in, this is reality, so since we’re here, we have to be smart.
Here are my five quick tips on what we can do to stay safe:
- The obvious. Please let someone know that you’ve gone out for your run. Once you’ve decided on your route, let someone close to you know where you’re running, your planned start time and you’re estimated mileage/time. If you have a running partner, run with them as much as possible. If you don’t, see if you can snag one or join a running club.
- Don’t be an easy target. Don’t be foreseeable. Don’t run the same route every single day, wearing the same clothes (that’s a little frowned upon anyway), at the same time. Change it up as much as possible. This is better for challenging yourself anyway. Keep your locations off of social media, as well. I know we get excited about our runs but nobody needs to know where you are at all times (except for the people regarding number one).
- Be alert. Keep your headphones on a much lower volume or ditch them altogether. I will be the first to say that music amps me up and gets me through the toughest of runs, however, safety first, shimmying second.
- Take your phone! I understand carrying a cell phone can be a nuisance but it is essential. I’ve traded my iPod for my cell, in the recent months, for safety reasons, and I use my Pandora for music as an alternative.
- Run while it is light out if possible. Entering fall and winter makes this a little harder considering the shorter amounts of day light. If you must run while it is dark (early morning or after the sun has set) our please use well lit roads, more populated routes, bring a flashlight, or think about the dreaded headlamp.
- Carry protection. I’m serious. I’ve been sticking to a small pocket knife, in an easy accessible area, so my hands are still free. Mace is another alternative. Again, while this can be a nuisance think about your safety.
I refuse to give up something that I am passionate about.
I refuse to let evil win.
May these beautiful souls rest easy and may all of us use the proper precautions to keep doing what we’re doing happily, and most of all, safely.