Runners? Safety?

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So, I'm new to running. I go to a cemetery a few miles away from my house, it has good paved roads, on a quiet residential street, with minimal traffic. My kids go with me, they ride their bikes, walk, or run with me. There were more people there today than normal. One other walker, and two sets of folks working on lawn maintenance. It is a large cemetery, with paved lanes dividing it into sections.

About 15 minutes into my walk, a car starts around. No big deal, it's a public place, most people just wave and go on. This car had two men, who kept driving around, kind of following me, but stopped when I would look. I had headphones on, but only in one ear and low, so I guess they thought I wasn't paying attention. Finally they parked, right in my path. My instincts were telling me to avoid them, as the other people were too far away to hear me, and I felt creepy about them. So I changed course on the next corner and rerouted around them. They stayed out of the car, and watched me for a while. They did try to engage me in conversation once, but i just kept on going oth a small wave. Then got back in and moved to a different section and watched some more. I kept my eye on them and avoided them, and went and stayed closer to the other people there. But I was nervous, doubly so because I had my kids with me.

I don't normally worry about people, or men, but these two raised my radar for some reason. It got me thinking about safety. What do you all do, besides the obvious, being attentive and alert to surroundings, and such. Do you carry a weapon or type of defense? I feel like all out packing a gun would be over kill, maybe a pepper spray?
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Replies

  • charming12u
    charming12u Posts: 49 Member
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    Carry my phone, ear phone in one ear only, and on low. I stick to my neighborhood since there are lots of people around, or the school track. If I head to the park, I've got a running buddy with me. So far nothing sketchy enough to warrant more drastic measures...
  • carmichs10
    carmichs10 Posts: 4 Member
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    Wow. Yes. I am pretty sure they were stalking you. Especially since they seem to be hanging out together and not leaving. I run a running club in Central Ohio and we have people out on public trails some doing runs up to 22 miles. We always send out in pairs and at least one phone. Pepper spray would probably be a good start, and your phone. We run on crowded trails and have never had issues other than we had a few ladies on our team get flashed by a pervert once. If your spidey sense goes off then that is a good sign something is up. I tell the ladies in my club that if you aren't sure of someone, just turn around before you get to them and run back. Do you have opportunities to run in a subdivision somewhere where you can run on a street, but not one with a lot of traffic. That way you have houses around for help, etc.
  • charming12u
    charming12u Posts: 49 Member
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    Running clubs are good to check out. I've found free group runs with our local running stores, along with running group for my city on Facebook. Maybe check those out and see if you can find some running buddies to join you too!
  • DavPul
    DavPul Posts: 61,406 Member
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    Yeah...maybe it was the maintenence crew wondering why you were doing your recreational activity on private property with a bunch of noisy kids while people were mourning their loved ones?
  • jofjltncb6
    jofjltncb6 Posts: 34,415 Member
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    Perhaps they were preparing for a service? Surveying a plot? There early to prep a site? Meeting family for the anniversary of the passing of a loved one?

    Oh, wait...this is MFP. Yeah, they were definitely stalking you. It's the only possible explanation.
  • LauraHasABabyJack
    LauraHasABabyJack Posts: 629 Member
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    I run alone on hilly, curvy country roads, minimally trafficked trails and a state park full of sketchy folk. I don't listen to music and always carry my phone and pepper spray. Depending on where I am, they may both stay in my hands. Staying alert and aware is very important and always tell someone where you are going and when you'll be back. If you see them again and have the same encounter, you can always swing by the police station on the way home to notify them.
  • badbcatha05
    badbcatha05 Posts: 200 Member
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    Always follow your gut. If something doesn't feel right, it's probably not.
  • Loralrose
    Loralrose Posts: 203
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    Pepper spray is not very useful in practice. Most people can't spray it quick or accurately enough to hit the eyes, and even if you do it may just make the person angry.

    If you're concerned, go with a buddy (safety in numbers!) and consider taking a self defense class.

    ETA: I never carry a weapon that I have not trained extensively with, because I don't want any chance that the person I'm defending myself from will take it and use it against me. Also because I think pulling out a weapon can escalate things, making an attacker more violent than they would have been otherwise. You had the perfect reaction here - avoid situations that trip your alarm bells.
  • PikaKnight
    PikaKnight Posts: 34,971 Member
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    Yeah...maybe it was the maintenence crew wondering why you were doing your recreational activity on private property with a bunch of noisy kids while people were mourning their loved ones?

    Was wondering this myself.
  • xsmilexforxmex
    xsmilexforxmex Posts: 1,216 Member
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    I keep my phone on me but I think you did the right thing by changing the route you went. That kind of behavior is suspicious. People don't just follow someone and try to talk to them or park in front of them and get out of the car for no reason.
  • jofjltncb6
    jofjltncb6 Posts: 34,415 Member
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    Pepper spray is not very useful in practice. Most people can't spray it quick or accurately enough to hit the eyes, and even if you do it may just make the person angry.

    If you're concerned, go with a buddy (safety in numbers!) and consider taking a self defense class.

    Agreed, pepper spray isn't very useful in practice. Very similar in effectiveness as the average self defense class.
  • ILiftHeavyAcrylics
    ILiftHeavyAcrylics Posts: 27,732 Member
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    Maybe they thought it was strange that you and your kids were running in the cemetery?
  • PJPrimrose
    PJPrimrose Posts: 916 Member
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    Its good that you pay attention. Paying attention is half the battle! Get pepper spray, get some instruction for it, and don't be afraid to defend yourself! I have quite a bit of self-defense training and travel armed (after all this IS TX!). If you can get a CHL in your state, again with proper training, I'd give that a thought too! Ditto on only one ear bud! Nobody I've EVER known that pulled a gun on someone, used pepper spray, or even a knife has EVER had it taken away. Even folks will a whole heck of a lot less training than I. Most bad guys look for folks who won't put up a fight! DEFEND YOURSELF.
  • gracielynn1011
    gracielynn1011 Posts: 726 Member
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    Yeah...maybe it was the maintenence crew wondering why you were doing your recreational activity on private property with a bunch of noisy kids while people were mourning their loved ones?

    Was wondering this myself.

    Because I'm not the only person who goes there to walk, run, bicycle, jog, skateboard. It is used by various other people in the community for the very same thing. There are even signs posted by the church that owns the property saying that it is completely welcomed as long there is not a funeral service actually happening at the time. And there wasn't.

    But in terms of mourning their loved ones, we were never near any graves, and make it a point to stay far away from any one who is visiting the graves. Except when we stopped in the corner where 4 generations of my own family are buried and cleared off and gathered up damaged flowers from a recent wind storm.
  • gracielynn1011
    gracielynn1011 Posts: 726 Member
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    Perhaps they were preparing for a service? Surveying a plot? There early to prep a site? Meeting family for the anniversary of the passing of a loved one?

    Oh, wait...this is MFP. Yeah, they were definitely stalking you. It's the only possible explanation.

    Omg. Like I said in my op, I normally don't get nervous around strangers, whether its a man or woman. And have never had this same feeling, even in other types of environments. There was just something that didn't seem "right."
  • MarineCodie
    MarineCodie Posts: 256 Member
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    Pepper spray.

    But seriously, can you reconsider taking your kids on bikes to go through the cemetery? Not trying to pass judgment or be rude but I'd be pretty upset if I saw this near where any of my loved ones were buried.
  • MyChocolateDiet
    MyChocolateDiet Posts: 22,281 Member
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    Yeah...maybe it was the maintenence crew wondering why you were doing your recreational activity on private property with a bunch of noisy kids while people were mourning their loved ones?

    Was wondering this myself.

    Because I'm not the only person who goes there to walk, run, bicycle, jog, skateboard. It is used by various other people in the community for the very same thing. There are even signs posted by the church that owns the property saying that it is completely welcomed as long there is not a funeral service actually happening at the time. And there wasn't.

    But in terms of mourning their loved ones, we were never near any graves, and make it a point to stay far away from any one who is visiting the graves. Except when we stopped in the corner where 4 generations of my own family are buried and cleared off and gathered up damaged flowers from a recent wind storm.

    PLEASE take a picture of these signs.
  • rybo
    rybo Posts: 5,424 Member
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    Always best to steer clear of people.

    As for the running in cemeteries thing, it must be localized as to whether its accepted. It pretty common around here, but I have travelled different places where there were signs posted against it & I found that odd.
  • froeschli
    froeschli Posts: 1,292 Member
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    Lol, I get creeped out if there aren't ANY people around...
  • TheSlorax
    TheSlorax Posts: 2,401 Member
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    up until very recently I ran outside in Oakland, CA in an area where I legit might have gotten mugged and I didn't even worry this much...

    just be aware and change course if someone weirds you out that much... which you did. there's a fine line between awareness and paranoia.