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Eliza Fletcher’s death rattles running community, runners share safety tips

woman jogging in park at morning
Posted at 10:08 AM, Sep 07, 2022

After Memphis-area teacher Eliza Fletcher was abducted and killed last week during a run, runners have responded on social media expressing their own fears about hitting the pavement.

Despite the fears, many runners using the hashtag #RunForEliza said they plan on continuing training. Many of whom dedicated 3.4-mile runs in honor of Fletcher’s 34 years of life.

Others have used the hashtag to share their own personal experience of being followed or harassed during runs. Some shared tips on remaining safe during runs.

While law enforcement officials say instances of runners getting abducted are rare, some athletes say that have experienced verbal, and sometimes even physical, harassment.

According to a 2021 survey by RunRepeat, 45% of female runners said they have experienced harassment while running. Additionally, one-in-10 female runners said they have experienced physical harassment.

Of those who said they experienced harassment, 60% said it caused them to change their route or the time of day they run. Others said they carry protection, stop running alone or switched to a treadmill.

The Road Runners Club of America offers the following tips to help runners stay safe:

  • Be Alert
  • Trust your intuition
  • Move away from verbal harassment
  • Get self-defense training
  • Vary your routine
  • Plan your routes with safety in mind
  • Run with a club/crew
  • Be visible in the dark
  • Carry your cell phone
  • Carry ID
  • Be street smart
  • Run on sidewalks
  • Never trust a driver
  • Be smart about headphone use
  • Call police