Have you ever been been fearful, or experienced that uneasy feeling while out on a walk, jog, hike or even a bike ride? With the recent news of the abduction and murder of Eliza Fletcher in Memphis, Tennessee , safety while enjoying outdoor activities has shot into the spotlight.
I’m Anna Kinkade and I have been a Radio Peoria employee for 22 years, but I’ve also been an avid runner for over a decade. To answer my earlier question, YES I have felt fearful enjoying the activities I love on our city streets and trails. At times, I’ve also become so comfortable that I have let my guard down. When the news of Liza broke, I knew I had to do more to spread the word of runner/walker safety in Central Illinois. Thankfully a good friend, Sgt. Dave Smith from the Peoria Police Dept., had the same idea and stopped by Radio Peoria to discuss an upcoming safety clinic he’s hosting.
Sgt. Smith isn’t just a police officer but he’s also an Ultra Runner (someone who runs 30 miles or more) and has put together a Running/Walking Safety Clinic for central Illinois. This is not going to be a self defense class, instead Sgt. Smith will share tips on how to avoid the situation in the first place, focusing on situation awareness, mindset and teach attendees what criminals are looking for when seeking out a victim. In addition, you will learn ways to make yourself an undesirable victim to a criminal. Plus, they will will also cover the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of specific personal protection tools such as pepper spray and personal alarms.
The Walking/Running Safety Clinic will be held on Wednesday, September 21st at the PD Headquarters, 600 SW Adams. This event is FREE, open to the public and isn’t just for runners and walkers. It’s open to anyone, of any age or gender. Space is limited so you are asked to register, which you can do here: https://forms.office.com/g/1RMWZJea6w
As a runner, I know the basic safety; one ear bud (better yet ditch the music all together), tell people where I am running, change my routes, run with a partner (if possible) and so on. However, there is MORE we can do to protect ourselves and avoid being a victim! This is a great opportunity to learn these strategies from not just a runner, but also a police officer, so we can continue to do what we love, running outdoors.
I hope to see you on the 21st!