Please be Safe

Yesterday I went to work with Andy. It was a gorgeous day and I had no pressing plans and just wanted to get out the apartment. I mentioned on my blog before that Andy is a musician. Specifically he plays the steel pan, and summer is the busy season for him. Many times I will accompany him to various gigs, and I can discover a new area of the city or a new town while he is working.

As he was entertaining the crowd at a community centre, I went out to grab a coffee and explore around a bit. After finishing my coffee, I noticed a sign that said “Nature Trail” that veered off the sidewalk.  There was a staircase made of logs in the ground leading the way to a scenic path of wood chips, shadowed by mature pine and oak trees. What a lovely path, I thought. Maybe I should go and see what’s up there and get a little walk in.  As I walked up the log stairway,  a little brown squirrel scuttling in the bushes made me stop in my tracks. I looked down that path, and watched the oak leaves dancing in the gentle summer breeze. I am not sure what is was, but the path suddenly seemed desolate to me. Something made my sixth sense alert, and I decided not to go on the trail. Instead I returned to Andy at the centre as he finished up the last few songs.

This morning I was watching the news. Something I decided not to do for a while because I find the state of the world a downer now. Bombings, racism, shootings, mass murders, hate crimes and terrorism. It all gets to be too much at times. This morning I did watch  HLN after my daily devotion, and the story I listened to made my heart drop. A young lady, 30-year-old Karina Vetrano, was killed on her evening jog. Karina and her dad would jog together every evening. On this particular evening Karina’s father was experiencing back pain and decided to rest. He also advised Karina not to run alone. Unfortunately she decided to take a solitary run and her lifeless body was discovered not far from her running path. It is appeared that she was strangled; her running shorts pulled partway down. The cause of death is yet to be confirmed.

I cannot imagine how devastated and grief-stricken her family must be feeling right now, especially her father who discovered her body while out looking for her when she didn’t come home. But I am sure Karina thought it would be okay to run alone and was just doing something that was routine. Those who love to exercise and feel those endorphins simply don’t like to miss a workout. I have had friends cancel plans of Yoga, Zumba, power-walking and jogging on numerous occasions but I still went alone. I really did not want to miss that post workout after high or working for those goals. Let’s face it, exercise makes up feel great and can be a huge stress relief. I learned later that Karina was helping to care for her ailing mother who has cancer. Maybe running was her release.

This post is not to scare anyone, or tell you not to achieve your lifestyle goals. I love exercise as much as you do! I firmly believe that there are good people in this world, but on the flip side there are also evil, heinous people in this world. Those who will not think twice about ending the life of another person. Karina’s sixth sense was not alerted yesterday evening, but her dad’s absolutely was. I saw the path they used to run on, and there was a part that looked to be in a wooded, desolate area. Something made her father feel uncomfortable about his daughter running alone in this area.

This post is to implore you rather to:

  1. Of course, always listen to your gut instincts. If something feels off, there is a chance that it is.
  2. Listen to your loved ones/running buddies. You may think that all is safe and sound and have the need to get out there and get after that 10K, but someone in your walking club, hiking or running group may feel otherwise.
  3. Be mindful about posting your routes on social media, especially if your accounts are not set on private. Sure, we all want to say we ran “so and so trails” or in “blah blah park” at 7:30 and it was a wonderful run and we do it every morning, but you can never tell who might be looking at this information. Especially consider this tip if you run alone.

As I looked at the photos posted on Karina’s Instagram on the news, I thought this is a young lady I would have followed if I discovered her account. A beautiful, vivacious woman who loved fitness, family and life.

Image result for karina vetrano
Karina Vetrano. Runner and fitness aficionado. May she rest in peace.

 

My heart goes out to Karina’s family for this senseless loss, especially her devastated father, who she considered to be her best friend.

photo image resource: http://www.hlntv.com/

 

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19 thoughts on “Please be Safe

  1. So glad I run with people!! I definitely feel safe now and basically never run by myself anymore…I have so many running friends! But yes, safety is oh so important! Carrying mase and being aware of your surroundings…also taking defense classes so you can knee someone in the balls if they come at you may help. Such a tragic story.

  2. This is so terrible because you are right she probably thought it was ok to run alone because why not ?! It’s just running and exercise no big deal. It just goes to show you never know. That poor family

  3. What a sad and tragic story. Hopefully something positive will come from this poor young woman’s death and runners/hikers who run/hike alone on secluded paths will think twice about doing that. My heart goes out to her family also.

  4. What sad end to a beautiful life. Your admonition to be careful is well taken. I always walk my dogs with pepper spray in my hand…just in case I’m confronted with a mean dog or God forbid, a criminal. It’s made especially for joggers and has a Velcro/elastic strap so you can’t drop it if you’re pushed down or startled. It just stays in the palm of your hand, ready for use. I highly recommend that for an extra degree of safety…but the first line of defense is to go in twos (or groups) and avoid places where people might be able to hide and wait for a lone woman. I usually walk in a quiet neighborhood but I don’t walk on the sidewalk, I walk in the street (not too many cars) so someone can’t jump out of the bushes and drag me in. You always have to be on defense even in “safe” places.

    1. Isn’t this awful! We don’t want to live in fear, but my goodness. I really support the idea of mace or pepper spray. Unfortunately it’s illegal in Canada unless you’re a part of law enforcement. This is so silly. We have our share of violent crimes here in Toronto. Pepper spray would be a quick, effective way to protect yourself and make it out alive. I keep on the street too. I only veer off on wooded trails if I’m with Andy or a group. A lady right here in my little suburb outside Toronto was brutally raped as she walked home from an evening shift at Walmart during winter when it’s cold, dark and not many people are out. Had she been prepared with mace, who knows. It could have prevented this attack. Absolutely agree. “Safe” places are not always safe.

  5. So tragic & senseless!!!! I am very careful! I live in southern CA so lots of bad news around here. My community is supposedly the safest but I don’t care. There is always 1 out there. People kill for nothing these days!

    1. Isn’t it?! Just awful. This poor woman met her demise with such brutality in what she considered a safe place to run. I always say act with caution. It’s sad but necessary these days for sure.

  6. This is such a sad story and a scary situation. Technically, I run alone but I’m usually on busy streets and when I go into the park, I only stay in heavily populated areas.
    Thanks for posting this here, T, and for these great tips on staying safe.

  7. Wow, what a tragic story. That poor girl. 😦 I struggle watching the news too because the stories in our world are so heavy. I love to run at night with Kev, but it scares me to run alone by myself! This just confirmed my fears.

  8. I’ve been thinking for a while now about how to comment. Such sad loss. I can’t image how her family feels.

    If I run at night, I always tie my hair up in a bun (less to grab hold off), keep my music low, none through less lit areas and always run in well lit. Thankfully, there are always people about at night here and in the areas near to where I live, open spaces. I always prefer if I come back in the dark to be cycling than catch the metro. I prefer to be moving. The walk to and from the metro, I don’t like so much after dark. I feel safer cycling. I remember when I used to run around the Cap d’Antibes, the path was narrow and cars were parked up on pavements, I used to run in the road as opposed to the pavement. It’s a beautiful place to run, I just never liked those pavements/sidewalks at night. I even ran in the road to avoid parked cars in daylight. If I ran trials in France I never listened to music. I took my phone, but no music. I always try to remind myself never to get too comfy in my surroundings. When your guards down, that’s when you least expect things to happen, happen.

    1. Those are very important and well thought out tips, Nat. The parked cars are easy access to snatch someone. I don’t jog with music these days, too much blocking of sounds around me.
      I can see how you would feel safer on your bike. It’s true that we must always be prepared.

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