I'm Making an Example of You, Kate

Yesterday's Worldess Wednesday was a setup for today's lecture post on basic runner safety, especially if you are a young woman who moved to San Diego from Chicago and was bumming rides a few days ago, one from a total stranger and one from me.

On Sunday morning, young Kate decided to drive some 15 miles from her home in Hillcrest to Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve in Mira Mesa/Rancho Penasquitos for a 12-mile solo trail run. She took with her a car key, a water bottle and her iPod. At some point, she dropped her key but didn't hear it fall because she was listening to music. She couldn't call anyone for help because she'd locked her cell phone in the car. There is no public transportation in the area, and Kate wasn't carrying any money on her anyway, so she accepted a ride with a guy who said he also lived in Hillcrest. Don't worry, this story has a happy ending.

Kate made it home unharmed and proceeded to contact co-workers via Facebook and email to see if someone on Monday would take her to get a new key at a car dealership and then drive her back to her car, which might or might not have been towed by then. I volunteered to do it, especially since I live just a few blocks from where her parked car was deserted. Not only was she lucky it wasn't towed, but she's also grateful it wasn't stolen. On the windshield was a note from a Good Samaritan saying he'd found her key and left it on her front tire. This just confirms that aside from attacks on young female joggers, I live in a pretty safe part of San Diego.

(Those young joggers were Chelsea King and a more fortunate Colorado college student.)

When Kate returned to work the next morning, those thought bubbles in yesterday's post surrounded her computer monitor. She knows she was foolish, and now you know too.

  • Never run alone, and especially on trails, without carrying a cell phone. If you can't carry it in a keyhole or belt, consider sticking it in a small Ziploc bag and shoving it in your bra, then check periodically to make sure it's still there.

  • Think twice about running alone with music too. Kate stood a better chance of hearing her key hit the dirt or rocks if she'd been more aware of her surroundings instead of absorbed in a song. She'd also more quickly hear movement from animals or people approaching.

  • Be very careful accepting rides from strangers, especially ones who are alone themselves. Look for a family for assistance if you can. It's a sad commentary on our society, but you can't initially trust anyone, even those with good intentions.

  • Let someone know where you are going and when to expect you back. Kate lives with Angela, and I think Angela was at work when this happened (Kate will set me straight in the comments if that isn't the case). I'm sure Kate could have bummed a phone from someone like the guy from Hillcrest and called her. Then again, it wouldn't have done much good. There was no spare key, and did I mention the car (technically) belongs to Angela?
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