NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville runners say their hearts break for Eliza Fletcher and her family after she was abducted while out on a jog around 4 a.m. The incident also makes them think about their own safety.
Becca Jones is an avid jogger and long-distance running coach. She said Fletcher’s story is one that disturbs many in the running community.
“My first reaction was oh my god and fear, fear for our runners and sadness for her family,” Jones said.
Unfortunately, it’s not the first time Jones has questioned her safety.
“I’ve been chased before and had cars follow me and had to hide. I mean it’s something you do have to plan before you run, or you should. You should map out a route, make sure someone knows where you’re going, what you’re doing,” Jones said.
She also recommends taking self-defense classes, something JC Shegog specializes in as a risk manager and security consultant.
“It’s one of those tools to where we tell people it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it,” Shegog said.
He recommends runners leave at least one of their ears free from headphones so they’re able to use all their senses. Also, have both your hands, or at least your strongest hand, free. He also offers advice on what to do if someone does attack you.
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“Scream as loud as you can, no, stop, don’t, call 911. And then you want to go limp, you want to be just a blob of weight. Make it very hard for them to transport you away from that position or spot,” Shegog said.
Trusting your gut is also key.
“It’s very important to listen to your instincts because the more you use them, the better you get at it,” he said. “It’s easier to say I’m sorry than to be a victim of a situation when you’re like oh man, I should have. So it’s easy to apologize, say okay, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean any harm, but what if you’re right? And if you’re right you don’t want to be in someone’s trunk or van saying I should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.”
Even after hearing Fletcher’s story, Jones says it’s important to her to keep running.
“Fear just restricts everything and stops you from doing the things that you love. And she was out doing something that she loved that was for her, that was for her family,” Jones said. “It’s a tragedy, but I just think it’s really important still continue to do what you love.”
If you do choose to carry pepper spray, security experts recommend getting military or police-grade mace. You should also check to make sure it’s not expired.