Everyone deserves the opportunity to run, walk, or jog without fear. Sadly, that’s not always the case. Even the most well-traveled routes, the busiest days, or the brightest of daylight can’t guarantee a worry-free run.
In a survey released by adidas just this spring, 90-percent of women responding said they had safety concerns while out running. Half of women in that same survey said they’d received unwanted attention – like sexist comments, honks, whistles, or have been followed – while running.
Most runners surveyed by Women’s Running said they felt even more anxious when hearing about physical assaults. Minority athletes, specifically people of color, LGBTQ+, and disabled athletes, share similar fears about safety on the run.
Recent incidents and close calls on presumably “safe” places to run have lots of us worried about safety. Our own, and that of others, our running buddies, the kids we coach, our family and friends…
Together, we can work to change that.
Everyone is invited to attend an Open Forum on Runner Safety. Runners, friends, and partners are hosting another opportunity to coalesce and build community around making running safer for everyone. It’s next Thursday, and everyone is invited.
“This is a huge problem that one meeting will not change,” said Lisa Landrum; a parent, coach, runner, and one of the Forum’s organizers. “By coming with an open mind and willingness to discuss options, ideas, share stories and experiences, we can keep the conversations going.”
Add those conversations have netted real results.
“One of the things I’m most proud of is that our conversations are going beyond state lines,” added Tammy McClendon, a local runner and participant in previous forums. “I’ve had a social media follower and friend in Philadelphia inquire about our work, and vow to initiate the work in his city.”
Safety forums in October and December of last year, and presentations to Charlotte City Council ginned-up good media coverage and social media chatter. Organizers have shared safety guidelines with run clubs, and encouraged clubs to help new runners learn the safety ropes. Greater awareness and an active, engaged community can make it safer for every kind of runner.
“We really need a community effort to make all people outdoors running, walking, birdwatching, or whatever feel safer while they’re outside,” said Jesus DelaTorre, who’s helping spread the word about the forum. “The fact that not everyone does means the work can’t stop.”
Want to go? Of course, you do!
What: Open Forum on Runners’ Safety
When: 9/27, 6 – 7 pm
Where: Start 2 Finish Offices, 8618 Monroe Road 28212
Who: Runners, walkers… anyone who would like to make an effort to effect some change in our community.
Why: Because everyone should be able to run without fear.
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