Running as a Woman
March 11, 2024

I am a runner. I haven’t always been, so sometimes I feel like a fraud, but as of late, I have really begun to think of myself as a runner. Up until recently it has been therapeutic for me. I guess for the most part it still is, because I get to spend time catching up with my friends. I love getting up early, working hard before most people are even awake. It makes me feel accomplished. On those days where the mornings don’t work for me, I love the midday hustle that often gets me energized and over the desire to nap. Being outside, seeing the vastness of God’s creation, taking time to be present and list the things I am grateful for is a special time for me. However, now when I run, I am constantly thinking of Laken. I didn’t know her but I still feel a deep sadness and loss. She was a runner, outside, enjoying the day, trying to set her mind free for a moment and then her life was suddenly taken from her. She was in a place I took my kids often when they were toddlers, to escape, to walk the trails, to be near water, to play. I would have considered it a very safe place, just as she did. I feel like it was a punch in the gut. It really rocked my world. I didn’t know if I should even share this since I didn’t know her or her family. I cannot imagine the pain they are in and the whole that is in their hearts. If that senseless act of violence happened to my child or one of my friends, I think I would want to crawl in a hole and die. I know that sounds dramatic, but I am sad. I am sad about all of it. I am also sad that as a female, we have to be so careful about where and when we run. I can’t run alone anymore, it just isn’t safe. I would say I live in a very safe place, but I would have said the same about the trail she was on that terrible day. I hate that when I run I am always looking in the distance for potential threats and listening to what may come up behind me. I never get to zone out and enjoy my music or the air I am breathing because at any point some psycho could come and take it all away and then my family would have to live a life without me because I chose to go on a RUN. What the hell?! That is insane. All because she chose to go on a run, get exercise, work on her spiritual or mental health, and find peace in the outdoors. She doesn't get to live anymore. I am sick. I think of Laken and all of the other female runners who have gone missing on their runs, never to return home. Why is this world so full of evil that you fear for your life when you step outside to exercise? I won’t stop running. I will not let those evil assholes have that power over me. I will alway run in a group. I will mix up my routes. I will take a self defense class. I will always think of the women who aren’t here to run anymore. I pray for the safety of all runners. If you are a male runner, I would just ask that you also keep an eye out for the female runners. You guys get to put your earbuds in and think about whatever you want, you get to escape, but we do not. Think of all female runners as your wife, mother, sister or friend. Be mindful, be helpful, and be kind. This is in no way throwing any shade at men, this is just the honest truth. I want to live in a world where there isn’t evil, but that isn’t reality. So ladies, run with your friends, don’t get so comfortable that you forget to be aware of your surroundings, and mix up your routes. This all comes from a place of love. Keep running. Honor those who aren’t here anymore to run.