Being a Female Runner

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To the males out there that feel they need to yell at me when I run by – I am not your baby. No, you can’t run with me. Don’t worry about where I am running and don’t be surprised if you get a big “FUCK YOU” from me if you say something inappropriate.

If I run 3 days a week, I can almost guarantee I will be yelled at 2 of those three runs. Today was one of those runs. I had a man stare at me the whole time he drove by, so I flipped him off. Then I had someone yelling at me, “Get it baby” – which is definitely not the worst I have heard but I’m not your baby. My own boyfriend doesn’t even call me that, so who the fuck are you to watch me as I run by and tell me to “get it”, or tell me that I look good, ask if you can run with me, or ask why I am running away…leave me alone. I am running for me. Not for you. You don’t need to put in your two cents about me doing an activity that I love.

What people may not understand, is that as a female runner, I have to think about my runs in a different way than perhaps a man would. I need to plan my route in an area that will have other runners, I don’t run the same route too often and I won’t go to certain areas depending on the time of day. I carry pepper spray on me in case something happens. I share my location on my phone with my boyfriend in case something happens. And if something were to happen, I am sure there is something that I should have done to stay safe. Which is bullshit. I shouldn’t have to do anything to stay safe – except maybe look both ways before crossing the street. For example, one of my last runs in San Diego I was running towards a man that was licking his lips and whistling to me as I was running towards him. I almost crossed the street but decided to hold my ground. As I got closer to him I yelled, “What the fuck are you looking at?!” and he got very aggressive took a few steps towards me and yelled, “What the fuck are you looking at you fucking hoe! Stupid fucking bitch!” As I ran off the curb and sped up I threw my hands in the air to say “I don’t know” and he yelled “Keep running you fucking whore!” As I got further away and my heart rate settled, I thought, maybe I should shut up next time. I have never had anyone try and get close to me like that when I ran by and it really shook me up. But I won’t shut up next time. It is not okay for someone to objectify me, or anyone for that matter.

With women’s running being more popular than ever, this shit needs to change. But what to we do about it? I think sharing our stories is step one. Runner’s World did a survey and wrote a special report about women being harassed while running; which is a great way to bring awareness to the problem but like I said, where do we go from here? I’m still only on step one and open to ideas.

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