As runners, we work together to make each other feel safe when we're out pounding the pavement.
A supportive, close-knit community is important for many reasons, but especially in horrifying cases, such as an incident that occurred earlier this month in Durban, South Africa. A 37-year-old accountant and mother of two running in the suburban area of Glenwood was kidnapped by three men at gunpoint in the early morning of July 6.
According to IOL news, a financial advisor from Gauteng witnessed the woman’s abduction and notified the police. The woman, who has chosen to remain anonymous, was forced to direct her abductors to her family’s home, which they robbed upon arrival.
Officials of Umbilo police station and Blue Security, a company that specializes in electronic intruder detection and armed response services, were soon at the scene. One man shortly emerged from the house, continuing to hold the woman at gunpoint and forcing her into the car once again. The vehicle’s tires were successfully shot, but it managed to drive away. The other two men fled the scene on foot. Police followed the vehicle and found the woman abandoned in the car in Chesterville. She was not injured.
The community of Glenwood came together in solidarity with the victim to walk the streets of the suburb on the evening of July 9. Some wore bright pink clothing, advocating for the notion that women should be able to run without fear.
The victim was present and shared that she would definitely be getting back on the road to train, and together with her husband expressed her thanks to the community for their support in the ordeal.
According to news24, Blue Security operations manager Brian Jackson praised the vigilance of the witness. “[It] shows that citizens are looking after one another and prepared to work together with the police and security companies to fight crime,” he says. He also shared that it is best for joggers to exercise in groups and remain vigilant in the early mornings.