I’ve never been afraid when I’ve been out running or walking.
Well there was that one time when I was worried I wouldn’t get to the bathroom in time, but that’s a whole other fear.
I was reading this: My Body, My Run, My Safety—So Stop Telling Me To Shut Up About I
Do I take safety into consideration when I’m out walking and running – absolutely. What women doesn’t have to?
I never let it stop me. I am not worried about running in the parks, along the harbour or in the neighbourhood.
Sometimes I encounter gatherings, the anglers at the boat launch who seem to be sitting and waiting, and they watch me go through the parking lot. Makes me feel super uncomfortable, but that’s me and the voices in my head. I watch people to, it’s human nature. There’s not loud comments or anything inappropriate, so it’s just my worry they are talking about “fat girl walking”, and the reality is they are probably telling the same fishing stories over and over.
I meet dog walkers, other runners/walkers, solo anglers off the harbour wall, cyclists. We may eye contact, a nod or a cheerful ‘good morning’ is all that’s needed.
The most ‘accosted’ I ever got was by a woman who seemed to think I shouldn’t run and would I stop and do Yoga with her. No, I was running, that was my goal, I politely declined, but she followed up with reasons I shouldn’t run. “Listen lady, I don’t know you, you don’t know me, thanks but no.”
I will walk at night. If I have 2000 or less steps to reach my step goal for the day, sure I’ll go for a few blocks, but when it’s dark out, I keep to the residential streets, not the park, not the harbour. The harbour I avoid more so because it’s water and I’m a klutz. If I trip or twist my ankle on the numerous pine cones along the harbour and fall in, in daylight I stand a chance to be seen, at night, not so much.
I also don’t like to be made to jump. I don’t find it fun, at all, and my response is generally pretty violent. I’ve warned the various boyfriends over the years, and they always think I’m kidding, until they purposely make me jump, and then have to duck when I’m about to take their head off. I refuse to apologize as they look at me stunned – not aware I am capable of violence, as much as the next person. I warned them, they ignored me, they learned.
My kids no not to make me jump. My daughter loves haunted houses and scary events at Halloween and I use to cheerful drive her, read a book and then pick her up and we’d share her adventures. But it’s not my thing.
So running in the park at night, is more about low light and feeling jumpy, than my personal safety.
I don’t want to live in a world where I have to think “as a woman, what’s the risk here” – we do have to live that way. So I manage the risk, I believe in my community and I know most assaults are by people known to us.
Ironically I can be more distrustful of a business acquaintance who’s drunk, than a complete stranger in a park at 10 pm.
What does that say?
But this is my small city, and I know I’m fortunate, and never take safety for granted.