NEW YORK – An early morning gathering of runners at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park isn’t anything new but a gathering on Tuesday was for more than just group exercise. It was part of “Runner Safety Awareness Week,” created by John Honerkamp, founder of The Run Collective.
The event is designed to train, advise, and ensure that runners in New York and across the country are always alert while out exercising.
Honerkamp says, “You know, you want to be as prepared as possible if you find yourself in a bad situation. How do you get out of that, whether that’s using your voice, you know, having just being aware. And so it’s really something that the more tools you have to get out of a situation.”
Honerkamp says the need for awareness comes as attacks against runners continue to happen nationwide.
In November, the NYPD arrested a 26-year-old man for robbing and sexually assaulting a 43-year-old woman during an early morning run in Hudson River Park.
Incidents like that runners like Christiane Baker say are not far from her mind when she’s out.
Baker says, “You’re on your own. You’re a woman. The lighting might not be that good. It’s only time you can get your workout for work. So, yeah, that’s always sort of hanging out there in the back of your mind.”
Runner Safety Awareness Week includes both in-person and online presentations that also cover topics ranging from personal health while running to staying safe in severe weather.
Organizers say the goal is to ensure that running communities can take care of themselves in order to take care of each other
Jennie Matz, co-leader of The Run Collective, says, “Even if you’re a person who’s not often in danger or in a position of risk, be that person who can be an ally, be that person, be a safe person, who can help people who are more vulnerable.”
Honerkamp adds, “Runner safety really kind of is now more broad where you’re talking about CPR, first aid running on trails, making sure you know, heat stroke. So there’s very, very various layers of safety and we’re trying to attack all of them all at once.”
Visit the Run Collective site to learn more.