I can’t outrun the risks of being a woman runner. And I’m sick of it.

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from The Washington Post,

It was a fall evening with a hint of crispness in the air. A group of men loitering in front of a convenience store started running behind me in D.C.’s Dupont Circle neighborhood and chased me for three blocks. I was terrified. Now I wasn’t running for a personal record. I was running for my life. My runner’s high was obliterated by the cold, sober reality of being a woman in this sport: Any sense of strength, confidence and power generated by running is fleeting.

I’ve been thinking of this ever since I learned the news last week about the death of Eliza Fletcher, the kindergarten teacher and mother of two children who was killed while on an early-morning run in Tennessee. Fletcher’s routine has been picked apart to somehow justify her fate — classic victim-blaming. But Fletcher could have done everything right as a runner, as most women who are attacked do. It doesn’t matter. The bleak truth is that violence finds us despite our best efforts to prevent it.

Reactions from the running community reveal that encounters such as the one I had are common among female and female-presenting runners of any age, location and ability. In an echo of #MeToo, countless women have come forward to share their stories, demonstrating that it’s in fact more shocking to learn about a woman who has not had a scary experience while on a run.

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