This post is… snarkier? Than my norm. But this is a frustrating problem, one that is easy for men to make a few changes and make running feel safer and less overwhelming for any woman out there. So, take my snark for what it is; 13 years of annoyance.
As I’ve been slow and steady beginning to run regularly again I’m always struck by what has changed. . . and what hasn’t. My bodies ability has changed, my stride, and my speed have all shifted over the months off. I’ve run trails, roads, and in gyms. My body has been small and contained, large and wobbly, I’ve been full of energy, and exhausted, I’ve been leaky and wild, and been sluggish and tired. But in the 13 years I’ve been an on again off again runner, one thing has always (always) remained steadfast.
Creepy guys on roads and trails.
Saying the SAME things.
Trying to be ‘helpful’ in the SAME weird ways.
FIVE WAYS TO BE LESS OF A CREEP ON THE TRAIL:
- Pass me. Seriously. Your legs are longer. Your speed is faster. And your breathing is scary silent. JUST RUN ON BY ME. My nice 13 minute mile pace could be your dog-walk, and you’re really freaking me out by just slowly coming up behind me and then fading out again. Just sprint on by!
- Announce that you are passing. “On your left.” is a nice way. Or just “passing!” works. Let me know you are going by, not coming up close and silently to grab my pony tail. I’ve seen a hundred afterschool specials, read all the terrifying facebook posts, and took that one afternoon defense class. You’re endangering us both (mostly you, TBH) if you come close and don’t announce yourself.
- Don’t comment on me. My form. Speed. Outfit. Music choice. NONE OF IT. I don’t want to hear “nice form” or “those shoes look fast” at all. Stop mimicking me taking my headphones off so we can exchange pleasantries. I can hear you (my headphones are magic), I’m purposefully not engaging in this chat. Because I am RUNNING. And it’s hard for me. And I have goals. And I don’t go on a run to talk to strangers.
- Don’t offer to help, when I don’t need it. The amount of “want me to run with you back to your car.” or ” don’t worry! I’m safe!” I’ve received is staggering. And seriously. Nothing is scarier than a strange man telling me “I’ll run you to your car. I’m safe.” when I’m just out on a loop around the lake. I am confident and capable, and if I need help, I’ll always ASK.
- Don’t tell me “you shouldn’t run alone.” It’s terrifying. And weird. And? I am welcome to run alone, just as you are. Pass on by.
Yes, those all basically boil down to two easy tips: Pass on by and let me know, otherwise leave me alone.
I know, I know, #notallmen and I know there are awesome male runner’s out there on the trail. But as a woman who literally NEVER gets harassed on the street it is shocking how endlessly chatted up and weirded out I am by the dudes I pass encountering when I run.