WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Members of the running community in Connecticut were forced to think about their safety after 34-year-old Eliza Fletcher was kidnapped and murdered while on an early morning run in Memphis, Tennessee.
"It just is a very stark reminder that we always need to be prepared. We need to run very aware of our surroundings and understand what's going on," said Stephanie Blozy, owner of Fleet Feet Hartford. "It could be any one of us. So many of us runners have to get up early in the morning when you work you've got to be at work by 7 o'clock, you know you've got to be out by 5 o'clock to get your run in."
Female runners said it's difficult to find someone who hasn't felt fearful while out alone.
"Someone who maybe just kind of turned around once you passed them. A car that came at you and maybe like passed by you slowly and then turned around and came up behind you and you started sprinting just in case," said Natalie Carpenter of Glastonbury.
Runners said there is safety in numbers and running with a buddy or a group is one of the most important precautions they can take.
"I keep my phone with me. I usually either run with a group or with at least one another person and if I don't then I run in my neighborhood where I know a lot of people," said Deb Chessari of Bloomfield.
If you are running alone make sure to carry protection.
"Carry some type of protective device. My favorite is like a panic button alarm," Blozy said.
"Pepper spray, and then also I've taken self-defense classes," Carpenter said.
Also always be aware of your surroundings.
"I like to say run alert and that's with your eyes and your ears open. You want to be able to hear what's going on and you always want to be looking around," Blozy said.
Fleet Feet said attacks on runners are rare but they can still happen and that's why it's important to be aware of the steps runners can take to keep themselves and each other safe.
However, it's something they say they wish wasn't necessary at all.
"It's just terrifying that you can't do something that you love because you're a female running by yourself," Carpenter said.
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