Harassment whilst running is an issue and is seen in various forms. BBC Breakfast ran a story earlier this year about harassment females receive whilst out running (see here), and in 2015 Lindsey Swift's open letter to a white van driver who heckled her whilst she was out on a run (see here) received a lot of media attention. More recently, research by Runners World magazine identified a number of unsettling findings (see here), including the fact that almost half of the female runners surveyed had experience some form of harassment whilst running.
Whilst I am inspired and never will fail to be amazed by the actions and resilience of runners such as Kelly Herron, and all those who have also been defiant in the face of such abuse, the issue makes me angry. What upsets me the most is that harassment will understandably affect people. The thought that these disrespectful comments and offensive actions could prevent someone from taking a positive step to improve their physical and mental well-being, or from continuing to do what they love, is very sad. Anyone choosing to put time and effort into something worthwhile – running or any form of activity - should be encouraged, not abused, and should not be made to feel vulnerable or frightened.
The fact this issue seems to continually reemerge I feel sadly presents an image of the way certain people within society view women rather than the act of running itself. To change deep set views of women will take a long time, but stories of female runners such as Kelly Herron, and women in general defying these comments and acts can only help encourage people not to give up and not let the harassment and abuse win - never stop fighting and never stop running.