British Columbia

Running safety top of mind for coach

After a woman was sexually assaulted on Burnaby Mountain, a local fitness coach says women who run are forced to constantly think about their own safety.

“I honestly don’t feel comfortable running alone. It weighs heavily.”

A local running coach is joining the RCMP in calling for women to avoid running or jogging alone — but says she's heard that message too many times. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

After a sexual assault in Burnaby Thursday afternoon sent a woman to hospital, Burnaby RCMP issued a warning to women who are out jogging or running to stay in groups.

It's a warning that avid runner Louise Green has heard time and again, and it's one she wishes she didn't have to hear so often.

"We'd really like to see the commentary shift to how can we stop people from attacking people," Green told On The Coast guest host Michelle Eliot.

"It's really unfortunate that we have to have this conversation, but unfortunately, it is a reality."

Green says runners she's acquainted with take all sorts of precautions. Some only go out in groups. Some avoid trails altogether. And some are simply turned off the activity altogether because of safety concerns.

Louise Green is an athlete, author and fitness trainer based in Vancouver. (Louise Green)

"To go running is such a great experience for people, so it's unfortunate that as women we feel like we're unsafe, even when situations like this aren't fresh in the news," she said.

Green herself doesn't usually run on her own, especially because she goes at night.

"I honestly don't feel comfortable running alone," she said. "It weighs heavily."

Green teaches running clinics for women, and some of the lessons have little to do with running.

She says safety from attacks is discussed, with tips such as not wearing earbuds, not wearing hooded sweaters, being aware of one's surroundings at all times, and, as the RCMP advised, not running alone.

To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: Running safely an issue for female runners of all experience levels