DES MOINES, Iowa — After someone tried to abduct a woman out jogging in Algona and another woman was assaulted and stabbed while running in Ames many in the running community are feeling concerned for their own safety.
Runner and Fleet Feet Marketing Coordinator Jordan Summers said these aren’t the only incidents.
“I think it’s kind of terrible like everyone is just trying to get out and be healthy and just to go out on a run and you’re not even safe there is kind of sad where it’s come to,” Summers said.
To give central Iowa runners some peace of mind, Fleet Feet along with other local stores and the Des Moines Police Department are hosting their second annual running safety event on Wednesday.
“You know what kind of prompted us into this last year was some of the incidents we had around the state, Mollie Tibbetts is the first one that comes to mind, and we wanted to do something where could give the women in our community a little more piece of mind as they move about through the city. Because it’s actually a very safe place but a lot of that is incumbent on you to make yourself a less desirable target and it’s sad to say that but that’s just the way it is sometimes,” Des Moines Police Sergeant Paul Parizek said.
Summers said she doesn’t want these incidents to stop people from doing what they love and being active.
“Don’t let it stop you there’s plenty of ways to kind of outreach. Go in groups, go with other people, go in the daylight at a busy time, run on busy streets where there’s plenty of people so if you do have an issue someone can help you,” Summers said.
Parizek said technology is another thing runners and cyclists can use to their advantage.
“The technology is a huge piece whether it’s buying an aftershock style ear bud that’s not plugging your ears so you can hear what’s going on around you or having some type of GPS on your phone where everyone knows where your at or it can give an alarm to your closest friends if you don’t make it back to your destination in time,” Parizek said.
The event is free and open to the public at the Downtown Des Moines Public Library from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.