Runner’s safety tips after tragedy struck Memphis

34-year-old Eliza Fletcher’s murder has others in the running community thinking about runner safety

ROANOKE, Va.Eliza Fletcher was a 34-year-old teacher who was abducted during a run in Memphis last week, and on Monday, she was found dead.

In light of her death, the running community is gathering together.

James DeMarco, owner of RunAbout Sports in Blacksburg, and Robin Lewis with Fleet Feet weighed in on the tragedy.

“That poor lady was just doing something that she should have enjoyed,” DeMarco said. “It’s something that gave her piece of mind and helped her get on with her day,”

“This really hits home with us,” Lewis said. “We personally know two women who have been attacked while running, and they were in broad daylight. Fortunately, they survived, but you never know what could happen.”

This could have happened anywhere, but there are ways you can stay safe while running.

“The big thing is you want to let your loved ones know where you’re at,” DeMarco said. “Where are you going, where are you running at, and when to expect you back, and then follow through with that over the course of time.”

Apps can help family and friends keep track of your location.

“There are apps that you really just push one button to let your loved ones, let EMS and police know that, ‘Hey I’m hurt’ or ‘Hey I’ve been attacked or something’s not right,’” DeMarco said.

Days are getting darker sooner, and Lewis said that the light is key.

“There are going to be a lot of women running in the dark,” Lewis said. “It’s really important to always make sure you have light, and 360-degree reflectivity.”

Experts said that if you are attacked while running, it is important to identify your attacker if possible.

“You should always have eye contact. Because if they see you looking at them, they know that you can identify them,” Lewis said.

Carrying mace, portable sirens, and not listening to music while running are all other ways to protect yourself.

About the Author

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.

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