My Girlfriend Had a Scary Encounter With a Man While Running in Portland, ME
I've been with my girlfriend Michele now for about 10 years and all that time she has impressed me with her dedication to running. She has run the Beach to Beacon, several half marathons and she runs several times a week without fail. She even hiked 23 miles in the Make-A-Wish Trailblaze Challenge.
I have no idea how she does it all, but she absolutely loves it.
Last weekend, she decided to drive into Portland for a run through the city she grew up in. She called me at one point to tell me about the scare she got running downtown and I am glad she had her wits about her to handle things the best way she could.
Rather than I tell the story, here it is in her own words:
"I needed to get in a long run so I decided to go to Portland where I lived most of my life. I started at 7:50 a.m. on North St and ran through my old neighborhood, then made my way down Congress Street."
When I got to Lincoln park, I decided to run in the park instead of on the sidewalk. I noticed what I thought was another male runner coming toward me. I smiled at him and then he immediately started yelling at me “What the F--- Are you looking at? Get off the road you fat b----!” He even called me the N-word. At that time it was clear to me that he was mentally unstable.
He turned around and began following me while still screaming, so I crossed Pearl Street and went into an open bay at the Portland Fire Department. I said hello but not too loudly. I was nervous and hate admitting that it scared me enough to tears.
The man crossed the street to the opposite side of where I was at the Fire Department and slowed down, hitting objects and yelling obscenities. He even hid behind something but I could still see him. Eventually, he sat down near Portland City Hall.
At this time it was around 8:20 and he was on the other side of the street and I determined I should be safe. It’s downtown Portland after all. I began running again but kept my eye on him as he was watching me as well.
He began crossing the street to come to my side near the library. At that time I crossed too. That’s when he sat on a bench in Monument Square and left me alone."
Michele made the right move by going to the Fire Station. Just being on the property was enough to slow this guy down and eventually give up.
I always ask her every time she goes out for a run, where she's going and the route she's taking so in an emergency I know where she will be. She's looking into other things that she can carry to help protect her if a situation like this ever escalates. Do you have any suggestions?
I'm proud of her for thinking calmly and to do the right thing to be safe. Michele agreed to let me share her story because she says if it helps just one person to know a course of action they can take in this situation, it's worth it.
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