Runner Safety & Virtual Run for Sherry

If you are a follower of running blogs I’m sure you’ve heard of Sherry Arnold.
She’s the runner from Montana who was kidnapped and murdered on Jan 7, 2011.
It’s a horrible tragedy and it has rocked the (running) world.
I can’t stop thinking about her family, her husband, her kids.
There are two evil men in jail that have admitted to killing her, though her body still has not been found.
Beth from Shut Up and Run is Sherry’s cousin and has organized a virtual run for Sherry.
details below are from Beth (SUaR)The virtual run will be on Saturday, February 11 at 9 a.m. MST.

  • Print out a running bib and pin it to your shirt
You can find it HERE
  • Gather your friends, your running club members, your families
  • If it’s wet where you are, “laminate” your bib with postage tape and punch holes in it
  • If that time doesn’t work, go when you can
  • GO. Run as far and as long as you want. Walk, hike, cycle, rollerblade if you don’t want to or can’t run.
  • Please share this on your blogs, Facebooks and Twitters
  • Keep it simple. Just run with Sherry on your minds and hearts.
Dimity, from Another Mother Runner states it perfectly:
“I want the earth to shake in Sherry’s honor.”
I will run for her, for her children and for her husband.
Will you join all the runners on Saturday?
if you do run for Sherry this Saturday and blog about it or take a picture, shoot an email to Beth at and she will forward them to Sherry’s family.
For my local Utah County chicas who run, did you hear about the 20 year old girl who was attacked and sexually assaulted on the Provo River Trail last night? Her attacker is still on the loose. This creep needs to be caught and taken off the streets. According to the KSL article the girl fought back and escaped with superficial wounds from her attacker and is expected to make a full recovery.
She was lucky. She got away. She’s alive.
Sherry wasn’t so lucky.
I’ve been wanting to write a blog on runner safety after hearing about Sherry.
Not because I’m an expert.
Because I think we all need to be reminded that we are never 100 % safe.
But we should do everything in our power to be as safe as we can while we run.
here are the things I do to stay safe while running:
1. Run with pepper spray
I have ALWAYS ran with a pepper spray canister.
I tell every runner I know to buy pepper spray.
it’s cheap (around $15) and easy to carry (see my scrunchy key chain, which also holds my house key)
I’ve never had to use mine. *knocking on wood*
Keep in mind they can also protect you from a dog attack.
Most pepper sprays do have an expiration date and if they are used once it is best to replace. The keychain canisters usually only hold a few “attacks”. My Momma suggests replacing it yearly on your birthday. No better present than protecting yourself.
2. I use a headlight and reflectors
me and my bff headlamp


reflector and blinkee thingee. love it.
doesn’t keep me safe from creepers, but I am visible and easily seen by road traffic.
3. One earphone for the ipod
If I’m running solo I will only use one earphone and my volume is low, just loud enough that I can barely hear the music. I still want to be able to hear oncoming traffic and hear people approaching me.
4. Let my Hubby know when I’m leaving
I always let Diz know when I’m leaving for a run, how many miles, and when to expect me back.
My Mom leaves a sticky note for my Dad.
make sure someone knows you are leaving and when to expect you back and where you are running.
I tend to run the same general loop. I have a 6, 8, and 10 mile loop that Diz knows and would know where to look for me if I didn’t show up when expected. My shorter runs (3-4 miles) tend to vary.
5. wear my RoadID
it has my name, age, and emergency contact info. It has Diz’s and my Momma’s phone numbers so they can be contacted if I’m hurt and cannot communicate with emergency personnel.
it never leaves my shoe. EVER.
you can order yours here.
I have the ShoeID, but there are many other options.
and from now on:
6. Run with your phone
I used to hate the idea of bringing my phone on a run.
What if I lost it? It’s too heavy. Too bouncy.
Well… eff that. I want my phone.
I want to be able to call someone if I need help.
Or even if I need to call for help for someone else.
I have a spibelt that fits my phone perfectly along with a gel packet or two.
For some other great tips, check out this post from Another Mother Runner.
(the comments have a lot of great tips as well)
I have to be completely honest though.
Since I first heard of Sherry’s disappearance, I haven’t run solo outside once.
I’m suddenly terrified. I envision the worst things along my running routes and I decide to hit the dready tready instead.
Last night I decided I’d run the 2 miles to Elevated CrossFit and I felt like I was on high alert the entire time.
I had my phone in jacket pocket, my pepper spray, and my reflectors. I ran an 8:11 pace, which is pretty close to my 5k PR pace (I’m still shocked I ran that fast). I’m sure my heart rate was racing the entire time. I had a hard time cooling down/getting my heart rate to slow when I got to the gym.
and I hate that I still have so much anxiety about running outside alone. The logical side of me knows that there is danger out there always, but for some reason, Sherry’s story just HIT ME, hard, and I’m scared. Even though I didn’t know her, she was a kindred spirit, another runner, a sister, a friend. I know I’ll eventually get the courage to get back outside for a solo run.
Maybe on Saturday when I’m running for Sherry 🙂
Let’s make the earth shake for Sherry.
what are some of your safety tips, never leave home without’s, must haves for running?
are you going to run for Sherry on Saturday?

12 thoughts on “Runner Safety & Virtual Run for Sherry

  1. Julia says:

    seriously!?! another attack on the river trail as well!?! i hate that it is so dangerous to run there because it is MEANT to be shared and enjoyed by active people. just because we are young women (or old or whatever) does not mean we should have to be terrified to share in the joys of using that trail or any other running route alone. this makes me so angry and so sad. saturday is hopeful to be my first “real” run back and i am honored to be able to dedicate that run in Sherry’s memory! love your new blog look friend!


  2. Amylee says:

    Of course I’m running Saturday. I vary my route and when I run. It’s important that you aren’t running the same place every time because then someone could know when to expect you. NEVER share your running routes on social media!!!!!!!! I wear a reflective vest and make sure the hubby knows what I’m dressed in as well. The attack in Provo totally freaked me out. Too close to home, maybe? I always run alone and Zi have been super nervous lately as well. I even opted for the treadmill last night and I NEVER do that.


  3. Jen H-Running Free says:

    Love this post Ash – I actually think it’s comforting to me to know that I am not the only one that is suddenly shying away from solo runs outside. I know that I will shake it off at some point – but it’s still very real to me right now. I can’t wait to make the world shake on Saturday as I hit the road for my 11 miles. It’s an honor to run for Sherry!


  4. Rachelle Wardle says:

    So so crazy about the attack on the River trail. When they hit that close to home it makes me even more afraid to run outside alone. These are really great tips Ash and I think one of the most important is letting someone know you are going running and your route. That is something I need to work on. Thank you for sharing and lets make the earth shake for Sherry this weekend!


  5. Monica says:

    I am lucky that I generally never have to run “alone”. I have a 90 pound Huskie that looks like a wolf and is pretty intimidating. I feel like he probably scares away anyone looking for an easy opportunity. Even with him, I try to be very aware of my surroundings. If I have to run when it is dark, I stay off the trails and on well lit/busy streets. I also try to make sure someone knows where I’m headed and about how long I plan to be gone.


  6. Kelly says:

    It’s making me think harder about running outside alone. I live in a “safe” neighborhood, but I need to be more careful. I’m switching my long run from Sunday to Saturday this week, and running for Sherry. Thanks for posting this!


  7. Sara says:

    I love this post. Thanks for the tips! I just won a giveaway that is mace I can carry on my wrist. I won’t go anywhere w/o it or my phone again. I haven’t run that much outside either. I think about Sherry often. I am running for Sherry this Saturday!


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