being shot at

Ok, so I was running my usual route by the side of a road, which had a longish queue of cars waiting for traffic lights along it. I was minding my own business, trying to ignore the pressure building in my left knee and stopping myself from breathing too quickly, when I hear a sort of cracking sound, followed almost immediately by a pinging. it wasn't my knee falling to bits, but some little swine (I would use worse words, but i dont know what you can get away with on this new forum) firing a damn airgun at me. and it must have been a ball bearing as well, because it left a largish mark in the brick wall the other side of me. What if that had hit my knee, or any other part of me for that matter. I hear that the little swines are now customising normal air rifles etc to make them as powerful, if not more so, than normal firearms. Thats just what you want to be thinking of everytime you pass a few of these tracksuit wearing 13 year old gangster wannabes. Like most runners I'm sure, I've had the swines shouting inane things at me as I go by. I've also had a plank of wood lobbed in my direction before, and the worst was a bottled that smashed on the top of a wall a few feet from my head, somehow none of the glass actually hit me. I can stand the odd thing like that from the stupid element, runnin away thinking that if I wasn't already so knackered I could go beat the living sh*te out them, but shooting at us? thats nuts.
Anyone else had anything like this? I know people who've had things shouted at them, but no one else thats had things chucked at them, or shot. Am I the only one? how heavy is that body armour the police wear, and do you think it would add much to my times? Its almost made me think about paying stupid prices to go subscribe to a gym.


  • That's awful PR. Where do you live?!?

    The worse I've had is the run along teenager. Does make me wonder if runnnig alone at night is such a good idea. Well done for coming out of it still smiling!
  • Blimey PR,

    Same as Snicks. Where do you live?? Beirut seems quieter than that these days!!

    What a lousy experience. Firstly you've got to report it to the police. You were lucky, the next person might not be.

    Secondly, maybe that route is not such a good choice right now.

    In any case as they used to say on some cop show (Hill St. Blues?) 'be careful out there'

    All the best,

  • Hi PR, I can't claim to having been shot at, but I did have an egg thrown at me from a passing car last week. I wasn't running at the time but walking home along part of my running route carrying heavy briefcase. The egg missed me luckily and splattered against the kerb near my feat. I was very angry and if I had been in running kit I think I would have had a go at giving chase, as the car got held up in traffic a bit further down the road. Bot sure what I would have done if I had caught it though.
    Myself and my partner live in Beckton in East London and she has experienced stone and water throwing on a couple of occations.
    Luckily these were isolated experiences and I hope that is the case for you too.


  • No wonder "leisure clubs" and the purveyors of treadmills do such a roaring trade. That really is awful. Definitely a matter for reporting to the police.

    There's a little feature in this month's RW about weighted vests - maybe the subtext is that we need body armour to run safely outdoors.

    The "run-along teenager" doesn't bother me - the ones I've had to deal with so far have been quite good-humoured and although I'm by no means fast they always end up having to return, red-faced and wheezing, to the jeers of their mates.

    I run on the pavements in some fairly ropy parts of Birmingham, but the only time I've had a missile cast in my direction was in snooty Sutton Coldfield where some yobs were sitting atop a bus shelter lobbing stones aimlessly (literally and figuratively) at passers-by. A few weeks later someone told me how she and her nine-year-old daughter had been attacked and robbed while waiting for a bus at the same stop. I hadn't bothered reporting the original incident, but wished then that I had.

    Right! Time to open the doors. All the teenage wannabe-wideboys will be prescribed sandpaper pills for their sore throats this morning.

    Cheers, V-rap.
  • V-rap - cayenne's quite good for sore throats I hear.

    I'am awfully sorry. That's a horrible experience. Absolutely stinks.

    So far I've never had to dodge anything beyond rather tame verbal abuse, (but I do tend to run around 7am, on the grounds that the local thugs and rapists will either be busy in bed, or at least at a lowpoint in their metabolic cycles.)

    But we should not have to run at crack of dawn to feel safe.

    Please do complain, loud long and often. I think its our only hope.

  • Just wanted to lend support to what every else has said, especially RB...go to the police straight away and insist they do something about it. Otherwise Britain is going to resemble LA in 10 years time.

    Sounds like an awful experience...makes my evening runs around the Bucks countryside seem positively dull (but I like them that way I think!) As the others have said, where on earth did this happen?
  • HillyHilly ✭✭✭
    Agree with what everyone else as said.

    Boy what is this country coming to? I have never, thank the lord, ever come across this kind of behaviour.

    Take care PR!

    Is there a possibility of changing your route? I'm so opposed to anyone being forced to stop what they are doing because of the anti social behaviour of others.
  • RedheadRedhead ✭✭✭
    Poor you PR. That is so awful and just should not be happening in our country.

    You really must report it to the Police and the local paper (that would then reach a larger audience).

    Hope you vary your routes and the times you run just to be on the safe side.

    Be safe.

  • Blimey, that is awful. Definitely a job for the police there. It amazes me that people find runners such tempting targets. I've never been shot at, but what is it about blokes in white vans? (apologies to any forumites with white vans). My girlfriend complains after every run that one has 'honked' at her or made a lewd comment about her bum (that's my job). I could only sympathise with her, but now I know how it feels. There I was happily running along, minding my own business, when WVM drives past and shouts "Fag" at me. As I wasn't carrying the feather duster at the time, I'm a little confused as to why a bloke in shorts and T-shirt, keeping fit = fag. Maybe he was just offering me a cigarette. Needless to say the ****** got the response he deserved.
  • All rather depressing.

    I've only been running a year, mostly in Bangor (about 15,000 people). I've had stuff shouted at me twice, though as I couldn't hear what they said I don't know of was abuse (but I can guess). I have also been shot with an airgun - it hurts like hell! It hit the back of my thigh and left a nasty bruise.

    I've aslo hadstuff shouted at me once, in Reading. Again, I couldn't hear it.

    Shouting stuff doesn't bother me but it would some people. I guess all you can do is be thick skinned and ignore it.

    Actual physical harm is another matter. Try and get the car number plate if it involves one, and tell the police.

    And of course, don't try and retaliate. It's tempting with the adrenaline and anger etc (was for me!) but if there's more than one you could be in deep trouble, and the police wouldn't be very impressed either.
  • PS wasn't running when shot, just walking home from a friends at about 10pm.
  • The more and more I read about Britain the more I feel glad that I left and steels my resolve not to return.

    I do most of my running in the wilds and have never had any trouble (aparat from being dive-bombed by bats at dusk - scary).

    You're welcome to my house for a run any day.
  • That is awful PR. Don't know what to say really as in theory yes - you should report it to the police - but in practise all they'll be likely to do is - if they can identify the dross that did it - give them a ticking off. And then you'll maybe be worried that they'll be looking out for you in the future.
    I've had our really nasty neighbour steer his landrover at speed at me whilst I was out running last winter - he swerved at the last minute laughing like mad - and I never 'reported' it cos I was scared it would inflame things. I also had someone with a shotgun start coming out every morning at 0630 trying to stop and chat to me - this was 20 years ago . The first time he was out it was co-incidence as I'd never seen him before - but then he started coming out every single day, lurking until I arrived. In the end I got Mr SS to walk out with me for a couple of weeks and the bloke disappeared. But I still shiver when I think of him - he was a wrong un for sure - that was in the wilds of Anglesey.

    Yet strangely - even now I'm in darkest Denbighshire - I still don't feel really scared when I'm out, don't carry a mobile or money, don't tell anyone where I'm going or for how long ( the family's asleep at 5.30am!) and just rely on good luck I guess.

    Keep on running PR don't let the bu**ers stop you!
  • I wish you could edit these messages - cos reading it again I sound so negative. Yes you do need to report it to the police - as even if they can't prove the kid has an airgun / shot at you / etc there would be a record of it and that in itself might be enough to scare the yobs off you as a future target - and I'll bet they've done it before to other people as well.
  • Glad to see Rob Spedding's joined in the chat with the forumites. You'll be getting the T-shirt and meeting us at races next. Mixing with the proles - is it allowed?
  • Here's something to warm your hearts. In March this year, a squad of our marathon training runners was attacked by a car driven by a drugged/boozed up youth (21 years old!). The car stopped and the two specimens inside decided that thumping runners would be fun - they broke the cheek bone of one bloke and kicked him whilst he was on the ground, bruising ribs. One of the blokes who went to his assistance had his eye blacked and cheek cut - the two specimens ran off into the local woods. The bloke who had the broken cheekbone didn't make London after all his training as the face was still pumpkin shaped and painful. The other bloke did 3.10 or thereabouts.
    The police caught the specimens and i am please to report that they both received 4 year sentences this Wednesday in court!!!
  • I'm really shocked. It seems that even the small sample of UK's runners that this forum represents has had more than its due of violence and aggression.
    Report it, even if all it does is bump up the statistics. Hope you never have to experience something like that again.
  • I took self defence classes, and I reckon everyone should. I was attacked in a pub once by a real 'hard' lad who just grabbed me into a headlock. Using what I'd learnt, 'I don't think he'll be doing it again in the near future', if you know what I mean. You do have to bear in mind that you can only use 'reasonable force'. In the heat of the moment it was tempting to seriously injure him, but who was that going to help?

    He was a student and prosecuting him would've cost him his degree, so the Police and I decided to let him off with a warning.

    But I can't say it often enough: take self-defence classes.
  • Yes - but self defence won't work against an airgun impelled ballbearing !
  • Sounds a nice area,

    I can't claim to be shot at, but having just returned from Afghanistan, it is a different feeling to run past a group of people, some as young as 8 yrs old, all armed with Russian rifles. It tends to make you pick up your speed and almost side step for the next few yards!!

    Be Safe

  • Err, I don't know whether to say thanks for all your replies or to be worried that this doesn't seem to be such a rare occurance. But I guess the countles numbers of runners who havn't had anything nasty happen to them won't be posting, so we should put it in perspective.

    The wood and bottle-throwing incidents happend around christmas, when I was still living in northampton and running round a slightly dodgy (but by no means the worst) area of the town.
    Now I've finished at university I'm back living in Boston, Lincolnshire (until I can get a job anywhere else). The odd thing is, up till thursday the worst I'd encountered here was a couple of 10 year olds hilariously trying to block the pavement in front of me, only to look sheepish when i simply ran onto the empty road for a couple of meteres to pass them.
    The airgun (or whatever it was) incident was actually on what must be the busiest road in town, at about 6.30pm, so its not like it was South Central LA. from what I remember of the car that went past, it looked like it was a family coming back form holiday. Skegness is only 20-odd miles away, and this would be the road to go anyway south from there. My guess is that it was a family going back to wherever because the weathers turned crappy these last few days, and the kid had probably won this thing on hook-a-duck or whatever.
    I really don't think that the town has too bad a problem with this kind of thing, at least in the daylight hours. Boston has plenty of herion addicts and skinhead neo-fascist nutters like any other provincial town, but if you kep away from where they hang out you're generally OK.
    I think the number of mindless attacks of all sorts on runners is indicative of the rising levels of crime and violence in society as a whole. I think we all know of places we really shouldn't be running. Boston has a population of 30-40 thousand and theres a couple of areas that I wouldn't want much to run round. And no, Snicks, I don't think you should really be running alone at night. We all (or most of us) run round, just like Shattered Shins say, relying on luck and the thought that stories like Dangly Spice's "won't happen to us". But we'll be out there again on sunday, and next week, and the week after that (unless my knees totally go AWOL on me), because we're runners (or want to be) and we won't let the b*stards grind us down. rain or shine, bricks or burning cars (how I miss northampton!) we'll still be pounding the roads.
    ooh, thats almost made me want to go for a run right now. But its 2 in the morning, so probably not a good idea. ;)
  • Hi Pilgrim.
    Sounds like you have the same problem as me. I live in a tough area of Leeds, full of junkies and gangs of kids looking for trouble after dark. I have resorted to doing my running early in the morning, in the local park,before these scumbags get out of bed. Sometimes i drive up to the country to get some fresh air and hassle free jogging.
    I never go out in the evening when it is busy around my area because of all the idiots hanging around. It is strangely comforting to know that i am not the only one with this problem.
    Congrats for not letting them grind you down but take care,bye for now,Baldi
  • I am shocked and horrified by all this. I would just like to say that all these incidents should be reported to the police and their statistic should be bumped up. There is no way on God's Earth that any of us should have to put up with this.

    I am glad to say that I have never had to suffer this sort of behaviour, and for that I am very lucky, and greatful.

    I agree with what Dan Grey said about self defence classes, but should we really have to go to these lengths. How about Runners World doing an article on this problem. It unfortunately seems to be all too common.
  • I had a similar shooting experience, but with a ball-bearing fired from a catapult. It thwacked into a garage door really hard and would have done me a lot of damage.
    About a month ago I saw two much younger kids loading up a catapult ready to fire at me. I verbally confronted them, if you know what I mean, and it was quite a laugh to see their macho posturing crumble. They were all of about 12! Even so, the rock they planned to fire would have hurt a lot. I don't know why parents let their children buy these things - what possible legitimate use do they have?

    All this is in Tunbridge Wells, by the way.

  • An egg is the worst projectile thrown at me. But I have known club mates have stones and bottles thrown. I have no idea why runners are subject to this apart from the fact that unlike soccer players they tend to be alone at the time. My only other thought is that 'jogging' tends to be seen as middle class and the abuse is an incoate expression of resentment. I understand that cyclists in Oxford/Cambridge have a similar problem with vandalism to bikes.
  • Speaking of bike vandalism in Oxford/Cambridge - I live in Oxford and you wouldn't believe the amount of A) theft and B) stupid vandalism that goes on. People stamping on bike tyres probably becuase they can't steal them, and the like. Personally, I've had my lights ripped off my bike (not even stolen, just destroyed), as well as an extra cable-lock extention thingy taken. It's bloody pathetic. Never had any verbal abuse / missles though - but then again, I've recently moved to a nicer bit of town.

    Anyway, don't want to rant too much, but I completely agree about reporting these incidents.

  • The worst I've had thrown at me was some verbal from some kids showing off to their girlfriends, sad to say that thinking of giving them a good kicking on the return leg of my run kept me going and pretty much "pumped" up, this anger turned to another feeling when I argued with myself that 18 year old girls would be much more interested in a sweaty 30 odd year old runner without his specs on... but i digress
  • I had a huge Turkey Leg thrown at me from a passing group of lads in an XR2. This leg must have been from a giant Turkey. Luckily I just ducked in time, and it put a huge dent in the side of a parked van. It would have knocked me out cold if it had hit me. It sounds funny now, but not at the time.

    More recently (last Saturday), my training group (I train a group of female beginners looking to run a 5k in 3 weeks time), were threatened in our local park by a gang of teenagers on bikes. They first blocked our path, then as we went around them they threw bottles etc at us, as well as hurling abuse. They then followed us for about 50 meters riding their bikes 2 inches from out legs, to get us to run faster. I dropped back to try and protect the girls, but still felt vunrable. I would quite happily of punched them, but then as they know they're minors and it would be me who got into trouble. I just hope it hasn't put my group of runners off. Most of them haven't run since they left school, and taking part in this 5k in a few weeks is their equivilant of the olympics. I just don't understand why there isn't any respect anymore...
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