I was stalked on Sunday

I’ve always loved fitness. Over 15 years ago I started running and I have been running most days since. I find that it’s a great way to get to know your area and get out into the fresh air but mainly it’s my time out. Especially since having 2 children (well 3 including Ash :)), it’s a critical part of my day. Without it let’s just say life becomes more ‘difficult’ for those around me!

Anyway, on Sunday I had a ‘moment’ where I feel that now my running routine might just have to change.

I am a morning person and this morning was no exception. I did some work in the office and then once the day started getting lighter at about 6am (plus there are alot more people around then), I got ready to go out for a run. The run around our place is not the most pleasant with loads of hills but still, it’s great to get out. Sometimes I take our dog but he is getting old and he is no longer a fan of the hills so lately it’s been more of a hindrance having him with me (my shoulder takes a hammering as Titan just bumbles along behind me). I love him to death but the 5km run is just too much for him these days.

So, onto my story. I was about halfway through my run when a red car went past me. The driver was a male and looked to be in his 40/50’s. He stared at me as he went past but nothing too creepy. Anyway, I continued upon my way. When I reached the junction with the main road and was about 4 houses along from it, the red car appeared again, meaning that the driver had driven around the whole circuit I run to get back to the position where he was again staring at me out of his car. Now I started to think that this was creepy.

When his car had driven past I actually stopped and turned to watched where he went. When he did a u-turn at the junction I had just been at and parked his car on the opposite side of the road to me, sitting staring at me, I stared back making it clear that I was fully aware of him and took off running towards home at a fast pace.

I had all these thoughts going through my head – what is my game plan if he drives up beside me? where can I run to? how can I contact Ash or the Police? what if he appears near my street? where can I run to then because I don’t want him to know where I live? what if he has a taser (yep I know, but that’s what I thought). I knew that if he managed to get close to me at all that I would fight like crazy but still I am not naive enough to think that things can still happen.

Let’s just say that all my senses were heightened and I became fully aware of everything in my environment. A part of me felt a little scared but mostly my mind was just playing through all the scenarios and coming up with ways to deal with all the situations that might come my way if this guy did try to grab or attack me.

That 2.5km home felt like a very long time……

I never saw the red car again that day.

When I did get home it was weird really because I didn’t tell Ash straight away. And it’s not because I was trying to hide what happened but it was my daughters belated birthday party and there was alot to do before her friends arrived.

A few hours later I was talking to Ash and I suddenly remembered what had happened. He said to me “why haven’t you told me sooner! I take it you are not going to go running on your own around the block again!”.

A part of me is really really annoyed that this random person has affected my routine, one that I love but the other side of me knows that I was potentially pretty lucky and I should listen to my gut instinct and take steps to avoid being in a potentially dangerous situation.

That’s the thing, I know that bad things happen to good people everyday. After being a self defence instructor for over 10 years I have seen and heard from many many people about terrible things that have happened to them – people who are good, even great people. Life can be a bitch!

You can sit there and say it’s unfair that you have to change, that your freedom is not at the level you would like it to be, that you should be able to do and go wherever you like whenever you like but unfortunately that’s not reality! Your personal safety is your responsibility.

I went to the Police Station and reported the incident. At least they have a record of that car and who knows, it may prevent a worse outcome from happening maybe.

Am I going to runaround that block again? I already vary my timing, take a phone (admittedly not every time!), sometimes take the dog, run when it is light and there are more people around, don’t run with headphones in and am very aware of my surroundings but I still feel like that’s not enough. I will still go for a run but now I will take some extra precautions and am going to run with someone else, maybe even join a running club, vary my running locations and continue to be very aware of my surroundings.

Yes you should be able to do what you want when you want but there are always going to be bad people in this world. You don’t need to live in paranoia and never go out of your house but you do need to be aware, be mindful and be safe.

Anna H.

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