This story has the makings of a horrific fiction novel, but it’s true. The unthinkable has happened right on the trails where I run – a woman was stabbed to death on New Year’s Eve. It is confirmed that it was a random act of violence and her family is offering a reward for the capture of her killer. It is rumored that she was running with earbuds. Apparently, police received a call just prior to her death of a suspicious man on the trails. He had approached another woman who had a cell phone and she called police.
I haven’t stopped thinking about this. This is our neighborhood park and trail system. There is a playground at the trail head. On the day this happened, New Year’s Eve day, my husband took our kids there to play at 2:00pm, and I had planned to run when they came back, but I changed my mind – I wanted to have a “lazy” New Year’s Day. This was reported to have happened around 5:00pm. I would have mostly likely been there at that time. I can picture exactly where this happened because I’ve been there countless times – mostly by myself. And I am ashamed to admit I have been leaving behind my pepper spray and whistle over the last few months. I just became complacent. This is a park. There are always families here. I do admit, though, that there have been MANY times where I have been running on a long stretch of trail where there are (seemingly) no other people at times and I was very nervous. I have heard footsteps behind me and gotten my pepper spray ready. But if I was attacked, am I really prepared? A friend of mine graciously invited me to a self-defense class for runners this weekend so I signed up. Please review the many ways you can keep yourself safe while running . I am considering what this means for my training runs. I definitely won’t be returning to these trails. I may end up running in the neighborhood. Or the treadmill at the gym, as much as I don’t want to – but it is a much safer option. I would love to hear all your feelings and opinions on this!