Viral Twitter Thread Highlights What It's Really Like To Be A Women Running Solo

"The lengths that women have to go to protect themselves from being alone in public spaces is restrictive, exhausting ..."

The tragedy of Mollie Tibbetts has helped to further bring to light the many dangers women face if they simply go running alone. The college student, who was last seen going for a mid-July evening run in Brooklyn, Iowa, was found in a corn field weeks later. Her killer is suspected to have followed her in his car as she went on her run. 

To pay tribute to the 20-year-old, many are dedicating their runs to her with the #MilesforMollie hashtag.

Unfortunately, Tibbetts's story is not unique. According to a Runner's World poll from 2016, 43 percent of women runners said they sometimes, often or always experienced behavior such as whistling, comments on their bodies, strangers needlessly honking at them, or other behavior in which strangers gave them unsolicited sexual attention. In comparison, only 4 percent of men said they receive unwanted attention.


In a now-viral Twitter thread from August 24, HuffPost writer Alanna Vagianos‏ shared her own experiences running alone. She wrote that she began running as a method of self-care when she was battling depression, and shared a photo of the last place she ran "alone and carefree."

It was later, during a terrifying experience, she realized how running could have put her in a dangerous situation. 

From that point forward, she wasn't able to sleep on the first floor. (She currently lives on the 29th floor and sleeps with a baseball bat near her bed.) 

After graduating, she moved to Los Angeles, and starting running after her depression returned. She said she felt good doing the activity. She lived near UCLA's campus so there were lots of students around, and she only experienced a few cat calls.

When she moved to New York, she stopped running while adjusting to a new job. When her depression returned, she laced up and formed a running routine.

Vagianos makes it clear that Tibbetts had "every right to run on her own" and her Twitter thread isn't a commentary on her actions but on "how the epidemic of violence against women (yes, it's a fucking epidemic) forces women to adapt and let go of things so integral to their well-being."

The thread has led to others sharing their own experiences:

One male commenter wanted to know what he and fellow male runners could do to be a better ally to female runners.  People are offering suggestions and safety tips:

(H/T: Scary Mommy)

Cover image via lzf I Shutterstock


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