This morning, I did a tempo run. I ran 11 miles in total, 8 at marathon goal pace, which for me is to run a marathon in about 3 hours 20 minutes. I had to run quite fast. I had to focus. I had to suck up my fears about running fast, which we all have and trust in my abilities.
It ended up being great. I nailed each mile, despite it being 7am and -2 degrees. Smashed it.
Then I started on my warm down back along the main road up to my office. I felt amazing; like I could do anything and was excited to tell my husband and Instagram how well it had gone.
This bubble of run-foria was popped by a honking horn, and a truck, easing its own pace along with mine to oogle at me. The three oafs in the truck stared. Opened the window and honked at me again. Shouted incoherent nothingness at me. Maybe I should have just completely ignored them? I’ve never been good at just ‘taking’ being shouted at. And why should I, in a situation like this. I less than politely told them to ‘go away’. They laughed shouted back and continued to hold up the already slow moving traffic with their idiocy, before getting bored and driving on.
This type of thing happens to me regularly. It happens to women running ALL THE TIME. Runner’s World published a whole article about it. There is usually nothing at all I can do about it, as it’s usually men from anonymous vehicles that I cannot track down again. They are cowards. They know that I can’t do anything there and then, and that I can’t do anything afterwards either. Today though, the harassers were from had their company logo all over the van and I’ve encouraged people to contact them, letting them know that street harassment is not OK. *update* the owner has since called me to apologise and assured me that the employees have been dealt with.
These men probably see what they are doing as harmless. But these men clearly think that it is OK to intimidate women, and how far will they go with their intimidation? I’ve often questioned what they think they are going to achieve by this cat-calling: a date? It’s not that though. They just want to be in a position of power, and this behaviour makes them feel big. It’s really concerning because this attitude to women and power is what is so, so damaging to our society and why 1/5 women in the UK have been sexually assaulted.
This needs to stop being acceptable and if it ever happens to you, try to take a photo of the car, memorise the number plate. The Sussex Police have an online system you can use to report this type of abuse. I don’t know about you, but I’m completely fed up with this.
Why should my hobby keep being ruined by cowards in vans? It’s not fair, and I refuse to be forced to run in a group, with a man, hide my blonde hair, not wear shorts, only run in a park… all these steps that are advised to us women to avoid abuse.
No. No. No.
It’s for THEM to change their behaviour, not me.