My husband understands, but only because I've taken the time to explain to him how men can make female runners feel. He doesn't approach women when he is out running. If they appear to need help, he asks and offers assistance from a distance. When running past them, he announces his presence while he’s approaching. He doesn't want to startle them. He says hi with no expectation of a response.
He's a guy—a good one—but he also knows how some men think. One morning, as I walked up my driveway after a 4 a.m. run, he jumped out and scared me. I was angry, and rightfully so. He said he wanted to teach me a lesson that morning beneath the moonlight—and he did.
“Don't let your guard down when it's dark,” he said. “You felt safe because you were close to home, but you aren't safe until you are inside your home.”
I don't like always feeling the need to be on guard, I want to get lost in the moment and just run. But he was right.
So, man on the trail, as a mother to two amazing boys, a sister to a wonderful brother, the daughter of a loving father, and the wife of a strong husband, I don't hate men—nor do I think that all of them are evil and out to get me. I worry for my safety, mostly for my children's sake. I don't want them to grow up without a mother.
I don't want to stop running, either.
You are one of the good ones, but don't forget that the woman you see out there running doesn't know that. Unfortunate as it may be, she—like me—has to consider whether or not you intend to hurt her.
Her life literally depends on it.
Find your next race.