Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Harassment Whilst Running: Will It Ever Stop?

Posted on 13 May 2022 by Yasmin Ryder

Reclaim These Streets

TW: Please note the topics discussed include experiences of physical and verbal harassment that some listeners may find upsetting.

I, Yasmin Ryder spoke with three young women, bravely willing to share their experiences of harassment whilst out running.

Many more women came forward to share their experiences and explained how frequently harassment occurs, they were keen to share their experiences in the hope it will continue to challenge this behaviour and raise awareness.

To hear Emma, Abby and Becca’s experiences, click here

There’s countless research to show how unsafe women and girls feel whilst out running, one example comes from Sport England’s This Girl Can last November (2021) which found:

  • One in five women (22%) worry about the risk or threat of sexual harassment in relation to doing physical activity and exercise, including 38% of those aged 16-20 and 35% aged 21-30
  • 28% worry about personal safety exercising outside in the dark.

In 2021, Runner’s World (RW) and Women’s Health (WH) joined hands to launch their own campaign “Reclaim Your Run” to show defiance against, and solidarity for, harassment whilst running.

In conjunction with their campaign, RW and WH published data from over 2000 runners to conclude some troubling results:

  • 60 per cent of women had been harassed whilst running
  • 25 per cent were subject to sexist comments or advances and;
  • six per cent had felt so threatened, they feared for their lives.

But, to add insensitivity to this troubling issue, Samsung’s most recent TV advert showed a young woman running alone at night and in response was widely criticised.

The advert was specifically criticised by women’s safety group Reclaim These Streets labelling it as “tone deaf” in light of recent death of Ashling Murphy, 23, who was killed on a run in January in Tullamore, Ireland.

For anyone affected by the stories shared within this piece, please see these links below for additional support.

Reclaim These Streets 

Mind

Rights of Women