running

Claire

I saw your article in The Telegraph and felt like I needed to share my experience I had today. I, like many others right now, experienced catcalls and harassment during my allotted exercise time today. This is the first time I’ve plucked up the courage to go for a run rather than do a garden work out since the lockdown started. I have pretty bad anxiety issues as it is so it was tough but I was proud of myself for finally getting out there…until I got to the end of my road and was faced with a group of road-workers. They whistled, clapped and even shouted “come back I love you” as I passed by, I even made sure to walk so I didn’t make anything “jiggle” in front of them. I started to question my decision to go out in the first place and I felt sick to my stomach but once I’d gotten round a bend I went back to jogging to take my mind off of them. I’d been more positive and happily running along again until I hear a car beeping, I turn around to see no one else around so I wasn’t sure what the car was beeping at then as they got closer I could see the creepy look on his face as he went past me at a slight slower pace. I felt disgusted again and decided tomorrow I will run in lose clothing just to see if it makes a difference. Should I feel wrong for deciding to leave the house in my right leggings and fairly tight top? Even if it was paired with my unwashed hair up messily and no makeup on? I don’t know how to feel about my experience and I don’t understand why it was so much worse when something like a worldwide pandemic is happening.

Donna

I was out for a run on the side of the road in a quiet gated community with no sidewalks (where almost no traffic ever comes) when a truck honked at me from behind. I asked, “What are you honking for?” because the driver window was rolled down. He yelled back, “You weren’t looking!” Then parked his truck. He was right. I wasn’t looking behind me over my shoulder as I ran forward. But he drove up behind me on a wide road, so his complaint was suspect. I went over to his truck and engaged in a conversation with him. First off, he rolled his eyes at me and said, “Listen honey-” to which I told him I was NOT his HONEY. He tried to tell me his honk was because I didn’t look when I crossed a drive-way he wanted to enter. I tried to empathize with him and said, “That must happen to you a lot. It must be really annoying for you.” He said, “Nope, doesn’t bother me one bit.” So I said, “Then WHY WOULD YOU HONK AT ME?!” Suddenly he changed his story and tried to tell me it was a “howzit” honk, like a “How’s it going?” so I wagged my finger at him and said, “No way, I have never have a ‘howzit’ honk in all my time running here. That’s was not a howzit honk. It was rude!.” In the end, he told me to “Keep jogging big butt!” And I snapped back, “Ok Saggy balls!” Which was ageist and rude as well. There’s nothing wrong with being an old man. There’s nothing wrong with saggy balls. But screw him.

Alexia

I’ve just been for a run. On my way back I stopped at the shop and bought some milk. Didn’t have a bag so was carrying it. Crossed at a pedestrian crossing. The man in the car who had to stop to allow me to cross started beeping his horn at me and shouting out of his window “Can I have some milk, baby, can I have some milk?” and laughing. I looked back and stared at him with a disgusted look which made him laugh even more. Really wanted to confront him but was scared of the consequences just in case he turned nasty. Noted his registration plate but realistically am not going to report it. A women with a young girl crossed the road at the same time as me so great that a young child witnessed this behaviour too. I have noticed that I get accosted more frequently when I am in sports gear. What he said wasn’t actually offensive but I’m absolutely fuming that I have been made to feel intimidated.

Anonymous

The other day I was running with a friend at night, I won’t go alone when it is dark for fear of being assaulted, and every time we passed someone I would look quickly behind me to make sure she was still there and that the person hadn’t grabbed her. I hate being afraid that something horrible is going to happen to me because silly me wanted to get some exercise.

Becci

Was out for a run yesterday, really enjoyed it and surprisingly wasn’t overheating until some random douchebag man topless on a bike passes me and after a few second shout “excuse me” I turn around and he shouts to me “you’ve got the nicest ass” with a OK had signal. I was alone in a forest, with only him around. I just looked at him, flabbergasted and disgusted, turned back around and started running again, now filled with the white hot rage that only entitled men can propose in a woman. Seriously hate the kind of people who think it is alright to and think they have the right to comment on other peoples bodies, especially when that other person is outside exercising for themselves – not for anyone else! RAGE!

Let Women Run

Marshalling a race day, a women ((guessing mid to late 20s) left the aid station having already run 15 miles. As she hit the main road a dark blue people carrier, driven by a Dad with two boys in it (guessing he’s the Dad) tooted. Lady marshalling next to me said ‘it’s the shorts what’ll have done it’. I died in side: ‘it’s the sexist arse driving the car that did it’ is what I really wish I’d said at the time.

Alex

I’m a 19 year old female uni student, and I went for a run for the first time in a while today at 10.30am. I was next to a busy park where I had passed families and other runners, when a van honked the horn at me and the man in the passenger seat stuck his head out the window and pulled a suggestive facial expression and shouted something. I immediately felt uncomfortable and objectified. This is not a new thing – I remember being 14 years old and walking up the hill to an evening hockey club at school with my other female friends. We were honked by car horns on multiple occasions & it’s been happening ever since.

Emma

I was just out running on a popular path in broad daylight. A man in a hoodie cycled past me on a bike and squeezed my bum. He was gone before I’d even processed what had happened. I burst into tears – of shock, and anger – and a kind older couple walked past and walked me home. I feel so sad and upset, and I’m nervous to go running again. I wish I’d reacted faster and knocked him off his bike! If it happens again I hope I do.

Joanne

I was getting the bus on my own last night (around 7pm) to my running club. During the journey I noticed a man looking at me and sort of smiling. I thought nothing of it. When I got up to leave I walked down the bus and past him and as I did he reached out and tried to grab my arm and said something along the lines of “have a lovely week”. I mumbled thanks and got off the bus. It’s not the worst thing that could have happened and he probably didn’t mean any harm but it just annoys me that people don’t seem to think about the consequences of their actions. Staring at a woman who is alone on a bus and then trying to grab her arm when she gets off is going to make her feel uncomfortable at best or downright scared at worst. It’s just not needed and I found it creepy. Although it shouldn’t matter what I was wearing I’ll just add that I was wearing full-length black running leggings, a long t-shirt and a running jacket. Hair was scraped back and make up minimal.

maria

I’m in my early-thirties and took-up jogging a few years ago. In the first couple of months as i was jogging in the park, (probably not even jogging, but just going very slowly and out of breath!) a group of teenage boys on their bikes cycled next to me whistling and commenting on my body. I was startled and really annoyed by this and responded back to them telling them to f-off and leave me alone! Immediately they reacted by calling me a fat b***h! I finished my run and they were still at the park so i went up to them and gave them a piece of my mind. It just amazed me that whilst I was just a “passive” woman running in the park, I was “game” for harassment, but as soon as I spoke back and tried to protect myself, I was “demoted” to a fat b*tch. For a while it made me conscious and think twice about running in that park, but I eventually just resumed as normal and the group never bothered me again. Running for a few years now, not out of breath any more 🙂 I found out it’s something that happens a lot on streets and in public parks in London in broad daylight, and I deal with it by wearing headphones, listening to my favourite music and blocking everything out. Men and boys (!) still definitely think they own public space and the women in it, but I sure as hell wont let it stop me from doing what i love!