Saturday, May 4, 2013

" The Fat B_ _ _ _ _d Reigns No More!"

   A couple of days ago, I was reading a running blog wherein the blog's writer described a situation recently where she'd been out running very early one morning and saw a man up ahead who was dressed inappropriately for the weather, standing in an untoward place for very ill-defined reasons.
   Her feminine intuition kicked in, she crossed the street and avoided coming into contact with him as she passed.
   She posted this tale as a word of caution to runners out there to be aware of your surroundings and your own personal safety while out on runs, particularly at times when you are running alone.
And vice-versa!

   Less than twenty-four hours after I read this, I picked up my morning copy of the local paper, the London Free Press, only to learn about the arrest of a man who has been terrorizing London runners for a decade now.
   He was arrested and charged with assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, as well as charges of mischief and being a common nuisance. The weapon being referred to is his bike.
   For a decade, this man has roamed the city's multiple-use paths on his bike, terrorizing runners using those same paths. He has elbowed runners, charged at them, sworn at them, run his bike right through race watering stations and even ridden his bike through finish line tapes.
Part of London's path system in Springbank Park

   The most serious offence, however, stems from him running a woman down from behind as she was jogging on one the multi-use paths in Springbank Park. The woman suffered a concussion, two broken ribs, black eyes and a strained neck as a result of this man's actions.
   This was a man who was well-known within the running circle here in London and this same community has breathed a bit of a sigh of relief, now that he's been arrested and charged. My running instructor, Kathryn, has been verbally assaulted by this man while out on runs and describes him as a large man, six feet and likely around two hundred and fifty pounds who generally is wearing a unitard and t-shirt and is very intimidating. The title of this post is actually a quote from Kathryn, upon learning of this man's arrest, and the nickname she uses for this man has apparently been adopted by many in the running community who have either had confrontations with him or heard about him from other runners. It's a name he's earned not out of pettiness but more out of indignance and shock that he would engage in such repeated behaviour.
I personally have never encountered this man. I tend to stick to running routes in my neighbourhood, mainly for their proximity. My biggest safety issues so far are traffic and simply watching where I'm going. I tend to run with my head down (see November 12 "Head-down Running" post) and have had to sidestep pedestrians, tree limbs, puddles and parked cars at the last second, to avoid injury (and embarrassment!) Fortunately, though, I have not come across anyone who wished me harm, simply because he or she thought I might have been encroaching on their space, as I ran. To the contrary, generally the people I run across (but not over) are very supportive and friendly and quick to greet me with a smile, wave or a how's it going?
We should be able to co-exist.
   I'm glad to hear that this man who's been waging war on runners for so long has been apprehended and charged finally. I'm certainly no expert but it sounds as though there might be psychiatric issues at play here and, if so, hopefully they will be addressed at some point in the near future.
   I applaud the woman above who bowed, wisely, to her intuition and common sense. All of us, as runners, should use both of these constantly. Until the last few days, I really only worried about accidental things happening to me while out running--things like sprained ankles, cramps, and heart attacks. I never considered wilful harm coming to me in any form. From now on, I will be more realistic.
   In the meantime, happy and healthy running to you all!

1 comment:

  1. it is scary out there I carry mace and a weapon..nowadays