Running

My right to run

Every single person has at least one thing that they enjoy, one thing that in their opinion makes life worth living, or one thing that they believe makes their life more enjoyable. You have the right to choose that thing accordingly. For some it is watching netflix every night when you get home from work, for others it is gardening. Some people enjoy playing video games, trying new restaurants, or golfing. Then there is a group of people that enjoy running. Again, it is your right to choose how you spend your free time and it is your right to enjoy the way you spend your free time as long as you are being respectful of others while doing whatever it is you are doing.

I want you to imagine for a moment that you are doing whatever it is you do. Just imagine that you are completely minding your own business doing whatever it is that makes you happy while being perfectly respectful of everyone around you. Now, imagine that you are being harassed. Imagine that someone is either criticizing you or talking about your body in a way that makes you feel bad about yourself. Do you think you would enjoy that? I don’t enjoy this and I don’t know anyone who does.

As I run down the street at night or in broad day light in what most would consider to be a quintessential small town I am often harassed. Some of the things I have heard are so crude I won’t even publish them on the internet but I can assure you that most of them are about my butt. Before anyone insists I must be asking for this let me inform you that this happens all year. It happens whether I am wearing 6 shirts and 3 pairs of pants in the middle of winter or whether I wear a sports bra and shorts because it is 100 degrees outside. Also, I have the right to wear whatever I want to be comfortable while running in extreme heat AND I HAVE THE RIGHT TO RUN AND FEEL SAFE. Myself and other runners do not ask for harassment we are simply chasing a dream, leading a healthy lifestyle, or enjoying something we love. If you came home from a long stressful day at your job and wanted to spend your time watching netflix would you like if I came up to your window and screamed offensive things about your body–no you would not. If you were eating in a restaurant would you like for me to walk by and say harsh things about your body–no you would not.

What really gets me is that I have been made to feel unsafe by grown men in front of their children and by small children with their parents near by and the parents say nothing. I have been harassed the most by teenagers and if you correct them their parents make you out to be in the wrong. Oh, and I am NOT bashing men because I have been harassed by women . Its not just men harassing women its women harassing women too.

Why do people do this? Has anyone ever gotten a date this way, if so please tell me because I am dying to meet the couple who met because the guy screamed out his pickup truck window at a woman running down the street–did she stop her run and get in the passenger seat of his truck so that they could fall madly in love?

For the people who do these things, why do you do them? Would you like it if someone did this to your wife, sister, mother, girlfriend, or daughter?

I have the right to run and feel safe just as you have the right to do whatever it is you do and feel safe. I want you to consider this when you drive down the street and see a woman running. God help you if it is me because from this moment on I am getting license plate numbers and reporting harassment to the police. If you aren’t in your car don’t worry, I will take a picture of you with my phone and stop by the police station on my way back home. You may have the right to do a lot of things but you do not have the right to make other people feel unsafe especially when they are doing something that they enjoy. I have the right to run and feel safe while doing it. If you think you have the right to harass me just remember that I also have the right to report harassment.

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14 thoughts on “My right to run

  1. I run with music most days so I don’t hear most of the harassment thrown my way. However, almost ever time there’s a moment of silence between songs, I catch a whistle, or a honk, or a disgusting comment. There’s one strange man on a bike who manages to find me every day, no matter where or what time I’m running. 😦

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  2. You shouldn’t have to deal with this. No one should.

    I will say, I haven’t had a ton of harassment here. It really shouldn’t matter what anyone wears, either. I do a lot of runs with other people and I think that keeps people from really harassing or honking, things like that.

    I remember one day downtown I was doing a long run and someone was stopped to turn out of his hotel driveway and he motioned for me to run faster through his window because apparently my 9 min/mile wasn’t fast enough for me to run so he could go! Ugh. Most of my morning runs are with music so if anyone harasses I usually don’t hear it (but have heard some honks).

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    1. That is so rude! I would have been irritated by the guy motioning to run faster. People have no idea how hard it is some days. I just wish runners in general received more respect when we go out for runs. As cliche as it sounds, why can’t we all just get along!?

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  3. People can be rude and inconsiderate at times but you should never let them bother you to the point that you don’t enjoy what you’re doing. As you have written, stand up for what you believe in. If you report harassment to the police and the harassers are punished you are taking the extra step to hopefully improving the safety and comfort of female runners in future occurrences. Just don’t let people ruin something you enjoy!

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  4. I loved how you stated….. No one meets one a date this way and falls in love lol!!! Great point !! This blog was such a point maker great job

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  5. I wrote a long rant about this on Facebook a few years ago. It’s so true. No one finds a date this way and it’s so disgusting that people think it’s okay to do so. You are amazing and talented runner and I would never let those comments bring you down.

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  6. I don’t know if my comment made it through or not. If not, here it is again:

    As a male runner, it saddens me to think what my female counterparts go through. Sorry you have to go through this on such a constant basis.

    I don’t think any of these people expect to get a date out of it. I imagine there are deeper psychological issues at play, such as lashing out due to past rejection from women, or copying behavior from older role models. In some cases, I think men truly believe they are being complimentary and get angry when the woman doesn’t show her gratitude.

    I think most people tend to imprint their beliefs onto others and act accordingly. The problem is that most men would be thrilled to receive this kind of attention from women, but ONLY because they don’t have to go through it every single day. Because they would be happy to get this kind of attention, they assume women would be too.

    It’s interesting, though, that you get comments from women too. I’m all out of ideas there.

    Good on you for bringing this matter to the police. Hopefully these people will get their comeuppance soon. In the meantime, don’t give up, and keep running hard!

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    1. I feel like in most instances people are respectful but at least once a run someone does or says something that is uncalled for. I’ve been getting really mad lately because most of it is overlooked by the general public so I had to rant about it!! The worst is when people say “well don’t run or don’t run outside or wear more clothes” when I complain about this. Thanks for reading and for your thoughts. Sometimes it’s nice to just write things down. I felt so much better after I posted this.

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  7. I actually get harassed more on my bike – I think it’s because when I run I often go to rail trails or run on the road super early in the morning and with a group of women and men. But when I cycle, I’ve gotten harassed BIG time. And for both reasons – people yelling crude/gross “pick up” lines, or because they are annoyed a cyclist is on the road. You are right – you have a right to do what you love – but people sometimes suck! Good for you for taking a stand on this.

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