Running while female

(106 Posts)
MooPointCowsOpinion Mon 15-Aug-16 20:12:44

I've taken up running and it's only been a week, 3 runs, and I've already had a very creepy encounter. I chose a very secluded run through a wooded area, just a few cyclists and dog walkers but a good path, and not near a road or a town. Felt perfect, as I'm out of shape and wanted to just focus on running and not think about bumping into people I know.

After the creepy encounter, I don't want to run there anymore. And I'm angry, so so angry. I should be able to run anywhere without fear. my biggest worry was if I would complete the run, or needed a wee half way round. Is this just how running is, unless you go through a built up area?

TheHubblesWindscreenWipers Mon 15-Aug-16 20:19:32

Yup. It's shit. You either run out in the proper wilds or stick to well trodden paths.

If you felt threatened, report it, even if nothing really happened.,I had a weird encounter after a run once, just walking up the bike path after a run, was carrying a few bags I'd dropped at a friends then going home. Chap turned around and followed me, switched sides when I did etc. I confronted him and he slunk off. It weirded me out so much I reported it to the police. They asked me to look at some artists impressions and lo, there was my weirdo.

Turned out they'd had a few reports and on the back of that they put extra patrols on that route. Don't think you can't report because no one hurt you. If you thought it was creepy it probably was for a reason.

I took to taking my Friend's dog out with me sometimes.

MooPointCowsOpinion Mon 15-Aug-16 20:28:20

Thank you. I'm going to report it as I'm sure he was waiting for a lone jogger, and will be again.

I turned around with my phone on camera mode and took his picture quickly, and sent it to my husband, so I have photos to give the police too.

PinkyofPie Mon 15-Aug-16 20:44:09

It's awful isn't it. I became very self conscious running because of cat calling from teenage boys. One time they even ran beside me and were "you alright love so you have somewhere to be?". Very intimidating. I don't feel safe enough saying "fuck off".

It's a shame as I really enjoyed it, I invested in a running partner which definitely helped!

MooPointCowsOpinion Mon 15-Aug-16 20:46:25

That's awful. I thought I would be the type to say fuck off, but it turns out I just run faster, hurt myself, then limp back to my car.

Felascloak Mon 15-Aug-16 20:47:08

How scary! I've had scary stuff too, it sucks. I don't think men realise how often this happens. Hope you are okflowers

Vvlgari Mon 15-Aug-16 20:53:16

Yes, definitely report it. What a scumbag. If that was me, I'd also be tweeting and Facebooking his picture. Hope you're OK.

I tend to use out of the way places to run as well, as I got sick of the beeping, catcalling and 'encouragement' offered by total strangers who have clearly never seen a woman exercising before. It's one of the most pathetic things I've ever seen in my life and it wasn't until I started exercising outside a couple of years ago that I realised how bad it can be.

I am definitely the type to tell them fuck off as well. And I do. grin

KatharinaRosalie Mon 15-Aug-16 21:02:01

Sorry to hear and yes, another thing for us women to deal with. I had this discussion with DH the other night, went for a run and he asked if I ever take this or that route. I said no, not safe, I stick to those other areas only.

He said that it has never even occurred to him but now that you mention it, women in his running club had also commented when he posted his late night runs in certain parks, that they would never do that.

trouble, as pp also said is that go to secluded ones and there are lone creeps. Run in busy ones and there are men who think you want to hear their 'compliments'..

TheHubblesWindscreenWipers Mon 15-Aug-16 21:10:10

The best comeback I ever had was to some teenage boys who cat called and started running alongside me.

I smiled at the and said oh are you joining me? I've got another 8 miles to do. Can you manage that? Good job you're wearing your PE kit!

The sports casual clad little fuckers looked suitably embarrassed

KindDogsTail Mon 15-Aug-16 21:12:49

How upsetting for you. It is outrageous really, it means women are living in a form of prison. I hope you find a way to keep on enjoying your running.
It was very brave of you to take that man's photo and I agree you should report him

Naomi Woolf described it very vividly in one of her books: how for a few blissful times she was out in her bike as a child till a paedophile tried to trick her into coming close to him and after that she was always held back.

I was once looking after a friend's alsatian dog and enjoyed the feeling of walking around at two in the morning with a sense of absolute freedom, feeling sure no-one would come near. At times like those you realise freedom as a novel sensation, sadly.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Mon 15-Aug-16 21:15:30

I started running recently - dh has done it for years.
When he sees a dog he gets scared, in case it chases him.
When I see a dog I get less scared, because it means there are dogwalkers about so I am not as vulnerable as I would be if there was nobody around.

MooPointCowsOpinion Mon 15-Aug-16 21:18:37

That's exactly it, I had two runs in freedom, they were hard and I focused solely on running and making it through.

Every run from now on will not be free.

I'm so angry.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Mon 15-Aug-16 21:23:33

I'm surprised you made two runs with nothing, to be honest - and I stick to busier runs.

I went for a lunchtime run today and a creepy man told me he likes to "watch the young girls running". There was something supremely unsettling about him and he seemed to be around me a lot.

I keep running because I don't want to have to stop because of others behaviour but I'm relieved when I get home, and the news of that poor American runner who was killed near the river on the only run she'd done without her dad scared me a lot. She looked so strong sad.

It feels like there's a lot more to deal with as a female.

Vvlgari Mon 15-Aug-16 21:25:17

There is no way I'm letting it stop me though. Why should I cower at home because some inadequate loser thinks it's funny to shout at me or pretend to dodge in front of me? Seriously, they can fuck right off.

It's tempting to wear headphones to block this stuff out, but I actually prefer being able to hear what's going on around me.

ArgyMargy Mon 15-Aug-16 21:25:52

This is not the first thread on the topic. I've been running for around 5 years and never had anything other than someone say "boo" from a passing van. I run through all sorts of places, just as I would walk through all sorts of places. I refuse to accept that I should avoid anywhere or be scared to walk or run by myself. The chances of being attacked are minuscule and the only person who would suffer would be me.

Although I am a little bit wary of that field where sometimes all the cows crowd around the stile...

ArgyMargy Mon 15-Aug-16 21:27:56

And of course I don't run in the dark. That would be dumb.

MooPointCowsOpinion Mon 15-Aug-16 21:32:48

If someone followed you with clearly dark intentions on a route, would you still go back to that route ArgyMargy?

MooPointCowsOpinion Mon 15-Aug-16 21:33:13

Running in the dark is dumb for men too, is it?

AyeAmarok Mon 15-Aug-16 21:36:09

Yep, it's shit. It's very unfair that it's yet another thing we need to worry about.

I run in a busy area. I've had men try to hit me with their car (he drove over to the wrong side of the road to do so), men start running along beside me, men creep up behind me and shout "BOO!!!" in my ear.

It's frightening, but I'll be damned if I let them stop me doing something I love. I never report it, but maybe I should.

KindDogsTail Mon 15-Aug-16 21:37:14

Well Argy, you have been lucky it seems but even if no one is actually attacked the constant intrusion and jabbing is malicious and a way of trying to undermine the woman runner's confidence and sense of autonomy.

Run247 Mon 15-Aug-16 21:37:47

^^ how can you not run in the dark during winter months? I can either run before work in the dark, or after, in the dark.

I was chased by two men whilst running once, thankfully I was quite fit at the time and just sprinted off and they eventually dropped back and I kept going. It was scary though.

TheHubblesWindscreenWipers Mon 15-Aug-16 21:37:47

And of course I don't run in the dark. That would be dumb.

No choice here. Dark by 2pm in winter

AyeAmarok Mon 15-Aug-16 21:38:08

I run in the dark. I have to; in autumn and winter I'm in work all the hours of daylight.

But I do try and stay where there are streetlights.

Vvlgari Mon 15-Aug-16 21:38:51

How can you not run in the dark unless you only run in the summer? I don't actually mind running in the dark.

OneFlewOverTheDodosNest Mon 15-Aug-16 21:39:04

I've been really fortunate in that where I live now I've not had any horrible encounters (plenty of dickheads shouting out of cars or thinking it's funny to dodge in your path to put you off but not scary iyswim?) I still make sure to let someone know that I'm going out for a run and to call me if I don't text I'm safe by x time.

I had someone try to grab me running once when I lived in London (in broad daylight hmm). It really wrenched my shoulder but somehow I managed to sprint out of there and got home. It really freaked me out, but actually I'm quite reassured that my fight or flight response seems to be pretty effective!

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