Last Friday, Eliza “Liza” Fletcher, a teacher and mother of two from Memphis, Tennessee, was kidnapped and killed while out doing something all of us do regularly – she was out for her scheduled morning run. She got up early, when her two sons and husband were asleep, so that she could be back in time to hug the slumber away from her children, and help them prepare for the day ahead; hug and kiss her husband to wish him a great day, and prepare for work to positively transform the lives of students. She and her family were robbed off all that and more when she was abducted on her run, and her body was discovered four days later near the University of Memphis. This jarring and heartbreaking story hits close to home because many of us live a parallel story and can connect with Liza’s intentions of going out for a run and planning to make it home. May she rest in peace and may her family find comfort in the memories that remain. What can be done to stop this from happening to anyone? It is terrible and incomprehensible that we have to consider—is running safe?—but unfortunately, we do.
Try to run with a friend, which is not always possible, as we all know. Let your loved ones know where you are heading and when you plan to be back. Run with a group. We have a Pacers meetup at 6pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays by the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center. We love our Pacers and want you to continue as Pacers, but if running with the Pacers does not work for you, there are other running clubs out there that can serve your needs (commute, schedule, mileage, etc.), such as Run with Us, which meets up on Mondays at 6 p.m. or Dog Haus Philanthropy Run Club that meets on Tuesdays at 6 p.m., or Pasadena Run Club that meets at Lululemon on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.. Find a well-lit path or well traversed area such as the Rose Bowl loop or a high school or local college/university track. Almansor Park in Alhambra is well-lit and has people walking and running along the walking path at all hours. There is always the option to run indoors on a treadmill at home or at the gym. Consider taking a self-defense class. Carry a birdie whistle, mace or sharp object to protect yourself. Place your house/car keys in between your fingers to serve as knuckle extensions ready for combat. Know yourself. When being attacked, will you fight, flight, or freeze? Hopefully you will never find out and will always be safe. Run you Pacer, run!