Friday, December 07, 2007

A DISTURBING INCIDENT

I've been in 2 minds as to whether to write about this as in hindsight its a bit of a non-event but the fact that I'm still troubled by it means it was significant to me.

PLEASE NOTE: I LIVE IN A MIDDLE CLASS SUBURB WITH NICE HOMES IN IT. ITS NOT POSH OR UPPER CRUST AND YOU WOULDNT EXPECT IT TO HAVE A HIGH CRIME RATE ..... BUT IT DOES.

Yesterday morning I was out for one of my usual early morning runs. It was around 5.45am and broad daylight. I was on a semi-main road (one connecting 2 main roads) in my suburb when I got hollered at by some hoons in what was like a hoon version of wolf whistles. It unsettled me a little as its pretty deserted around that time of day even though there are homes nearby (as I never run in totally deserted/uninhabited areas). I picked up my pace and was not far from home anyway.

A little bit later I decided to run a little longer and was in a side street tucked well away in my suburb. The same car drove up to me, slowed down and the scruffy, unsavoury looking male passenger asked me if I knew where there was a public phone box. A second car very similar to the first was behind and had also slowed down.

OMG I DIDNT LIKE THAT AT ALL!!!!!!!! (I answered no twice and kept running and they drove off). I picked up my pace and ran FAST to my home which was only a couple of minutes away by then. So many (negative) thought were racing through my mind and I was quite frightened.

I would just like to add the following:

1. I was not dressed in a revealing or "put it out there" way. No shorts, no crop top just long pants and a long sleeved T shirt. Very ordinary if you ask me.
2. To drive past me the 2nd time they would have had to look for me. That was no coincidence. And who uses public phones these days?? NOBODY!! Everybody has a mobile and if there are 2 of you and 1 has a flat battery the chances are the other one doesnt.
3. I was honestly contemplating hopping into a house about 100-200 metres away as one of my work colleagues lives there and I knew she would understand if I needed a refuge.

Mind you after seeing me close up - no make-up, hot, sweaty, very unglam they probably were happy to just drive off LOL!!

Then to really put the icing on the cake I was lying in bed last night with the front door open and only the security door locked for protection and I could hear in the not too far distance lots of yelling, tyres screeching and hoon carry on. It disturbed me and left me feeling not quite 100% safe.

So do I ignore this incident and keep running early as I've been doing up to now, sometimes getting 3-4 kms away from home? Do I keep running early but stay MUCH closer to home (eg street sprints)? Or do I limit myself to cardio on my exercise bike and rower? (I'm not a gym goer so thats not an option for me).

Magda

6 comments:

Pip said...

OMG Magda, - that DOES sound disturbing and cruel! I bet you feel uncomfortable running early morning around your neighbourhood and I can understand you not wanting to give that up to an indoor gym treadmill environment.

Great work on handling the scenario! My only suggestions really are 'can you find a really public route close to home' for your early morning runs. Such as a run/cycle route in popular area. - even if it's inconvenient to drive and park to get there. OR transfer your training till early evening after work. Annoyances though I know!

Otherwise you could look at getting a treadmill for the home if you wanna train early more than in the early evening.

You are very inspiring anyway and look forward to hearing of your decisions!

RaeC said...

OK, I am going to try and hold my tongue and not give a venemous comment about packs of men and their need to intimidate and frighten women who are by themselves... whether it be for kicks or something more malicious.

I think Pip has a great idea, even if it can be inconvenient. Finding a park or area where it is loaded with other exercisers is a great idea. A lot of the lakes around here have paths around them and not only do you not have to worry about traffic, but there is always a lot of other people there. Other than that, if there is someone you can exercise with, then meet up with them in the mornings... of course it's very hard to find a willing cardio buddy for that time of morning... LOL!!

I cannot live without my treadmill and it is the best investment I've ever made. I used to run on the streets (even caused some accidents) and like you I have never run or exercised out in public in skimpy outfits. I always wear something that covers down to my knees (capri length) and a long top... never a cropped one. Does't stop them though. I've actually had a guy get out of the car and stand in my path, apologise for stopping me and ask me directions. He was genuine, but he could have been someome else with different intentions. Not only is it disconcerting and shocking when you are in a world of your own and someone steps into it like that, but it has the added annoyance of interrupting my exercise... YOU JUST DON'T DO THAT... LOL!! I mean do I look like I am just out for a stroll and looking for strangers to chat to??? I'm head down, red-faced and puffing up a storm. I would never interrupt anyone's exercise who looked as though they were putting everything into it!!

However what this all boils down to is NOTHING is worth risking your safety for. Exercise indoors or at a different time for about a month (give them time to lose interest and clear out) and then try running in the morning again. If something similar happens like that again, then give up running at that time of morning for good.

A lot of people start their partying on Thursday nights for the weekend and sometimes end on a Sunday, so maybe even look at just running Tuesday to Thursday outside and do cardio indoors on Mondays, Fridays and on weekends. That has the added bonus of mixing up your cardio a bit too. Two cars of guys at that time of morning suggests to me they were together partying and were either on their way home, or bored and got into their cars to head out and see what trouble they could cause.

I hope you can overcome the fear and find ways around it honey xxx

Dianna Broeren said...

Geez, that really would have been scary for you Magda. Only you can determine was is best for you. Personally I wouldn't stop your early morning runs. I would ensure I stayed in the suburban areas and I'd take my mobile phone with me. I always tell my hubby when I'm leaving in the morning and let him know approximately how long I'll be gone.

I hope you don't have to experience this ever again.
Di
X

Hilary said...

Eeek!!! Get a BIG dog to take running with you!! We have a big Alaskan Malamute and when I take him out people cross the road to get away - he looks like a mean wolf but he's really a big sook LOL!

Do you take a mobile with you? Then if you did feel threatened again you could still contact someone. I also tell OH what route I'm taking too - in case I dont come home.

Its shocking that you should feel so intimidated when doing something simple like jogging around your local streets.

Hilary xx

stacytoby said...

I've gotta agree with Hilary - get a nice scary looking dog. My dog Toby is my running pal whenever I am energetic enough to go running in the AM or PM, and even though he is only 11kg in size, he would definitely attack anyone who tried to hurt me, and he has a nasty 'dont come anywhere near me!' bark!!! Works a treat!!! No one ever hassles me when he is around!!!

Dont let these guys get you down - just be prepared! You shouldn't have to give up your daily runs for a bunch of bogans!!!

little rene said...

I am so glad that you are listening to your instincts Magda. Every day we hear stories about poor women who didn't trust theirs and the disturbing often fatal things that happened to them.

I have had things like this happen to me and it is really frightening. Even if they were harmless and just "having fun", it is not worth the risk.

I know we can't live our lives in fear, but I think that being aware that bad things can happen is a sensible approach.

Stay safe :)