Personal safety tips for runners

After hearing the news of Eliza Fletcher's death, many women may be worried to go out running on their own.
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 6:37 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – It’s a story that may be on the forefront of many minds. A Memphis woman was out on a morning jog when she was abducted, and her body was later found. 34-year-old Eliza Fletcher was a junior kindergarten teacher and an avid runner.

After hearing this news, many women may be worried to go out running on their own.

“I think it’s really scary, especially as a woman to have to worry about. You’re out there and you’re doing something good for yourself. It’s something very empowering, learning a new sport in a lot of cases and in the back of your mind you always have to think who’s on the trail with me,” Terrloco store manager & Rochester Running Club member Kim Zabel said.

If you’re feeling nervous about running outside, there are a number of personal safety steps you can follow like running with a group or checking in with someone before you go.

“Let someone know what you’re going to be doing, what you’re route is, what time you’re leaving, what time you’re expected back,” Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office Capt. James Schueller said.

It may also be a good idea to change up your running routine.

“Run a different route. Run at different times. Anything to change up the routine, so it isn’t easier for someone to figure out,” Capt. Schueller said.

Running stores like Terraloco sell products like maze and sirens to protect runners.

“Anywhere you are, you need to be concerned as a woman and be able to protect yourself the best you can,” Zabel said.

While runners can buy the products and take all of the safety precautions, it still doesn’t mean you’re completely protected.

“It’s disappointing that women have to always keep that in their head whereas if you were a man, you probably wouldn’t think twice about who’s on the trail or if someone is following you or what my next steps will be,” Zabel said.

While there may be a larger issue of violence going on, it’s not a problem that can be solved overnight.

“We can talk about teaching our children early on to be respectful to treat all people, men and women, with that respect , but I think it’s going to take a long time for this to stop. I think this is just the nature of the world we’re in,” Zabel said.

Terraloco is hosting a free self defense class this Sunday at 11 a.m. at their store. After the class, participants are invited to partake in an In Memory of Eliza Run at 12:30 where they will take off from the store.