Bristol Runners: Please be careful

I don't know if anyone has already posted this link, but it looks like we (especially ladies) need to keep our wits about us when training:

a woman was raped near the Downs on Thursday morning

I know it doesn't necessarily mean he'll strike again, and it won't stop me training, but just be aware...


  • That's horrific image
  • I used to live in Clifton. As a bloke, I reckon single male runners are as much at risk as women on the Downs at night.

    That area should be an asset to the city, instead its a haven for cottagers and rapists.

    Very sad indeed.
  • I hope that people do keep running there, though (and it wasn't my intention in posting the story to scare them off).  The more people stay away, the worse it will get.  Reclaim the Downs, and run en masse!

    Might help if they put some street lighting up there, though.  I know it's a beauty spot, etc., etc., but it hardly helps in terms of safety that it's pitch black up there at night.

  • I've never like the down after dark, certainly wouldn't be up there on my own.
  • Bummer.

    Hate it when something like this happens, on a range of levels.

    Thanks for the info Joolska.

  • it might sound obvious, but now that the dark evenings are here PLEASE run with a partner, not just ladies either, im a big guy and i get a bit worried when im out on my own espescially on friday/saturday nights when people have a few beers on board! be safe guys!

  • I've no intention of running with a partner all the time. If you're that scared of being outside - stick to the gym. I've been running for years at all times of the day and night and never had a bad experience.

    You're more at risk of injury driving - but I dont see people asking others not to risk that ?
  • its not about being scared cougie, just a suggestion for people who dont like running alone at night!
  • i live quite near to where this happened. its truly terrible. lets just hope hes caught.

    the whole area of the downs near bridgevalley road and to sea walls is a disgrace. its a magnet for cottagers (and rapists now). ive been running there for years and am always astonished by the sheer brazen attitude that these blokes have. some weekend mornings they are literally queueing to get into the bushes.

    why cant the police sort this out.

    it used to make me laugh but stories like the one posted by Joolska really bring the point home.

  • Mouse - isn't that where you took me that night?
  • Have to admit I've never felt unsafe running on the Downs, morning, afternoon or evening.  Running with a partner all the time isn't going to happen (and I'm sufficiently anti-social and selfish that I like the peace and quiet of training alone and being able to run at my pace and not someone else's!  But enough about my good points...).  It's just a case of being aware of your surroundings and so not running with loud music, etc., and keeping away from the most isolated areas to be on the safe side.

  • Yep.

  • My yes was to Coops.

    I have to say I've never seen anything untoward (ie cottaging and dogging) taking place on the downs at all, despite it's reputation.  I have long thought the stories about cottaging are mere conjecture anyway.   The only problems I've ever had up there at night have been kids in their Novas.  I wouldn't run up there after dark purely because as you head down Ladies Mile there's no street lights so you can't see where you're going and you're liable to fall on your head.  I do run along by the zoo, down Bridge Valley Road and also the other part of the downs by the water tower in the early evening though.  Though there are usually lots of people around anyway.

    I'm trying to work out if this took place on one of the paths through the woods, or actually on the pavement on the little hill as you go down from the downs.  I've never run through the paths in the woods.

  • the part of the downs where all the weird stuff happens is on the road btween ladies mile and sea walls. ive lived here for 6 years and confirm that every time ive ever run along that road ive seen cottagers. mostly early morning or early evening at dusk.

    some mornings there are 10+ cars parked with single blokes in them (no dogs and not in running gear).

    live and let live i suppose.

    i think it may have happened on the road (hill) between ladies mile and the zoo rd/bridgevalley.  

  • Mouse,

    I can't work out which bit they mean, either.  I thought they meant that path which zigzags up the side of the Gorge from the Portway to Bridge Valley Road (although on reflection, it would be pitch black there at 6am at the moment and would invite injury, if nothing else), whereas a colleague, who also runs, thinks they mean the road linking Bridge Valley Road and Ladies Mile.  That's a bit surprising, unless it took the police a while to get out there, because I ran down that road and BVR at about 7.15/7.30 on Thursday morning and there was no sign of any trouble.

  • BTW, out running this morning and the police sign is at the bottom of Ladies' Mile, top of that hill, so I guess it was where Glennzo said.
  • Its a terrible incident. I always figured that nobody would be arsed getting up that early - just on the offchance. Guess you cant figure out the sick minds though.
  • my guess is that the attacker had not been to bed and was the sort to stalk around and wait for someone who to him seemed like a 'victim'.

    from my experience of criminals (used to be a criminal barrister) they dont live like you or me. they certainly dont think like right minded people hence i doubt he set his alarm early on the fateful day.

    im a bloke but i really thought female runners would be quite safe as they are a fast moving target who is not drunk or incapacitated and most importantly with the potential to either escape or crack the attacker in the b*lls.

    mind you i dont think like a nutter so what do i know.

    lets just hope hes caught.

  • I'm with those who say run alone if you are comfortable to!

    I've had people say to me "you're not going running on your own are you??" at 7.00 pm.  They wouldn't suggest I shouldn't walk home from the station after work on my own at that time surely?

    I've even had some women tell me they wouldn't go running on their own in daylight - do they never go outside on their own?  You're not suddenly extra vulnerable because you're running, are you?

  • No, Wilkie, I don't believe you are extra vulnerable because you're running.  It's all part of how soceity seems to have become extra cautious, so that lots of children don't get let out to play anymore, etc., etc.  I tend to find it's particularly people who drive everywhere and so don't seem to have to interact with outdoors much; they're the ones who think that walking/running anywhere by yourself (or travelling on public transport by yourself) is inherently dangerous and risky.  There's nothing wrong with risk management (e.g. not running with loud music on; ensuring that someone will become a bit concerned if you're very late back; etc., etc.) but everything wrong with overkill.  Cotton wool, anyone?
  • i reckon youre less vunerable if you are running. to attack someone running takes a bit more than just pouncing on a drunken clubber. and dont forget that attacks like this are v rare. most sexual assaults/rapes take place when the parties know each other to some degree.

    im going to guess that whoever did this attack had done it before and was quite brazen. hopefully the police may get some dna.

    if my wife said she wanted to go out running when its dark i wouldnt worry but would suggest she stuck to well lit places, that she had some sort of alarm and that she went early in the evening. there arent many weirdos about at 7pm

  • Exactly.  I'm in more danger going on a date with a guy than going for a run!  But, that said, if I know that an attacker has struck in a certain area, it pays to keep my wits about me when I'm out and about.

  • Just to update, according the Evening Post website the police investigation has been called off.  No info on why.
  • Joolska - did you see in the papers that there have been several more attacks (Alma Vale, Hampton Road) and that they believe they are linked?

    Also another one in Fishponds but that they don't believe it to be linked.


    Attacks linked

  • I did see about the other attacks.  I ran past Hampton Road a few hours after the attack there and wondered why it was all roped off.  I'm trying to run at lunchtime when I can...
  • Interesting that the investigation has been called off ? False alarm ?

    It did sound a bit unusual - so early in the morning ?
  • TBH I've given up trying to figure out what's going on.  I'm just going to be careful but keep on running!


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