Nasty experience

Don't know if this has ever happened to anyone, and it sounds quite funny, but I found it really horrible, and I'm seriously thinking of stopping running at night (which will mean I can only train at weekends, and will make me very upset).

 Last night was out running (I live int the outskirts of London), nearly finishing up, about 9.30pm, on a busy main road near my house, when a cyclist came up really close behind me and smacked me really hard (open-handed) on the bum. I was incredibly shocked and shouted something pathetic at him as he rode away. I didn't see his face and he had his hood up. He then turned down my road, so I carried on on the main road. 

 Next thing, he did exactly the same thing again. I don't know why I didn't hear him the second time and turn around - I think my head was so full of what had happened that I just didn't register it until I heard him right behind me and next thing he had slapped me again. I wasn't wearing headphones or anything, I never do. 

 Has anyone else experience anything like this? I felt humiliated and out of control, and scared that he might wait somewhere for me and do something worse. It was probably just someone messing, but still. I called the police from my house and they are coming to see me tonight, but I didn't get any details of what he looked like, so it will be pretty useless. 

Should I stop running at night? I can't run any other time. I'm so angry that I should be put in this position. Why did he think it was OK to do that? 

Thoughts welcome. 


  • Linds there are dickheads in every walk and area of life, don't let one spoil something that is important to you.

     Try to be a little more aware of who's around you but don't be put off running, just think about where you run, which side of the road, inside or outside of the pavement etc.

  • yep dickheads in every walk of life.

    I personally think mornings are 'safer' than evenings.

  • Nick L wrote (see)

    I personally think mornings are 'safer' than evenings.

    Due to the great un-washed not getting up till noon image
  • Report it to the police - describe it as a sexual assault.
  • You might find the police put on a few extra patrols in the area after you speak to them. This kind of thing is totally out of order and they'll be concerned the chap might be spanking other women in the area.

    It's natural that you should feel humiliated etc but remember, this isn't you fault, it's his and he's obviously a bit la-la.

    I agree with everything Lirish said, and would add try and change your route so you're running facing traffic on the stretch of road where you were slapped.

    Whatever else, don't let this experience stop you doing something you enjoy.  If in the unlikely event you come across him again and he spanks you again, push him off his bike (if there's no traffic coming obviously). He's assaulted you and you're defending yourself. if you're not keen on matching violence with violence scream blue murder. If he thinks this is just a bit of fun, a bit of retaliation, be it vocal or physcial, should let him know he is totally out of order. 

  • I did yell abuse at him the second time, pretty loudly. I had a rape alarm which I thought about using - should have, I guess.

    He was on the pavement. I was facing the traffic....but I probably was a bit in a world of my own. I wish I had had the presence of mind to push him over but he was gone so fast. 

    I'll be pleased if the police do put more patrols on. 

    Maybe I'll talk to my husband about sorting the kids out so I can go in the mornings instead. He wants me to stop going at night.....

    Thanks everyone for support. 

  • LindsD have you looked into whether there's any running clubs in your area? Most areas will have at least one and there's always a good mix of abilities and personalities in them, mine runs at least twice a week with speedwork/long runs at the weekend.

      Also when the police call around this evening emphasise how the attack made you feel as a woman alone, stress you believe it may have been sexually oriented as he came around for a second go and ask outright whether there has been any similar attacks reported in the area. Ask whether your local neighbourhood officer works in the evenings and whether there are PCSOs assigned to your area and if not could they be reassigned. ( PCSOs can issue fixed penalty tickets for cycling on the pavement and are a valuable source of intelligence. The details on the cyclist, not the PCSO usually)

  • I would report it too.  Dont let it stop you running though - dont let a minute percentage of the population put you off your sport.
  • Oh LindsD how awful, might be an idea to change your route for a while and definitely keep that rape alarm to hand.

    I had a similar incident a while back, I was running through an area that is not particularly SWF friendly but as it was Saturday afternoon I figured I'd be ok... As I was running along one road a bloke crossed over and I just knew he was going to do something stupid... as he got to my side he made this fake lunging move at me, fortunately I managed to side step and carry on... Then as I turned up another road, he'd obviously cut across the corner, although as he'd taken his jacket off it didn't register as I was approaching that it was the same bloke... and as I went past he flicked his coat out and whacked me on the bottom with it... I'm originally from London and my Yorkshire accent drops straight back to cockney when I'm annoyed... So I looked over my shoulder and shouted as loud as I could F*CK OFF with a serious growly cockney accent before sprinting off...

  • Agree with the above. Touching you like that is no better than sexual assault. You wouldn't go and touch someone like that in normal life, so what's the right on a run.

    Did you have headphones on, or was he somekind of silent cyclist who ghosted in? If someone did that to me I'd take advantage of the split seconds that they're off balance and give them a good shove. Into the bushes they go.

  • image I think fan fan is suggesting you throw a fake UGG at him next time LindsD... Interesting option but I'm not sure it would work.

  • A stick in the front wheel should bring him down nice and hard and you sprint away from him.
  • If evenings really is the only time you can get out running, then maybe as has already been mentioned joining a running club might the safest bet for you. Safety in numbers and all that. Not that this sort of thing is acceptable.
  • Intermanaut wrote (see)
    Report it to the police - describe it as a sexual assault.

    Ditto - this is a sexual assault.

    Nasty thing to happen.

    Wish I had been with you - no maybe not, I'd be sitting in the police station trying to explain how exactly the cyclist fell under the passing car. Sorry but I would've seen red.

  • Intermanaut wrote (see)
    Report it to the police - describe it as a sexual assault.
    Agree if some d*ckhead like this things they can get away with it they will do it again. They will propably be very local and if the police know about it they can at least try to deal with it. Hope your ok. If your worried about running after dark is running with a club or friends a option for you?
  • Not funny at all..............isn't something nice to happen at all....remarks can upset.....but to actually physically touch you twice is crossing all the boundaries.......

    I hiope you can find a way to carry on enjoying your running

  • That's horrible. It makes me so angry that some people (thankfully a small minority) find it OK to do something like that. Unfortunately there are some who just seem to see a woman on her own as fair game. image It's such a shame that we have to feel vulnerable and as if we shouldn't be going out at night when it's their problem, not ours.

     I hope the police are helpful and treat it as seriously as it deserves.

  • image Without trying to upset anyone. If this behavior happens if can sometimes escalate into worse behavior, the police will take it seriously and I think you should contact them today so they can be aware of this w*nker and peper spray him if they see him doing at again.
  • Have to say that it's not just women who are at risk. My patner has come home shaken up after a nasty experience while he was out for his evening stroll and cigarette break. There are some very stupid people out there.
  • This is the worst type of abuse we runners face and especially women - get it reported to the police, this is serious assault - it must've been a horrible experience for you and think how many other female runners (or non-runners) he may attempt the same thing with, thinking he can get away with it

  • horrible - I would be firstly shocked and then blindingly angry, I have a terrible temper about anyone doing something like that. Definitely report it as suggested above.  I would also suggest you borrow a medium to large size dog  from a friend or neighbour to run with. I haven't run without at least one German Shepherd for about 25 years now, except in races, they love the exercise and I always feel safe even though I run 99% of the time in a large forest., most people go out of their way to avoid me and my dogs.  Alternatively use that rape alarm or carry another kind of weapon like a pepper spray, taking a self-defense class will help your confidence too.  Please don't let this stop your running, it makes my blood boil that you should be subjected to this kind of thing and that this ass thinks it's ok to attack a female runner - because I would certainly class this as an assault.
  • near me ( miles away from the OP ) there was a spate of cyclists being slapped/pushed off thier cycles by a mad car driver. Original event was a bit of shouting from car to cycle, then random cyclists were slapped/pushed off for a period of a few weeks, ranging over an area of a few square miles. It was only when it was mentioned in a forum that a pattern was noticed,and the Police informed of the whole chain of events. and the idiot caught.

    Do report your nutter

    Do vary your run start time / direction / speed / clothing / route. Take someone else with you. if you run in expensive skin tight lycra, wear summat loose + inexpensive, so you adjust your apearance hugely. ( or go lycra if you wear baggy clothes.... pop a hat on.)

    Don't put a stick in the wheel, it would look dodgy if YOU were stop searched while running round town carrying a big stick.... and won't class as "self defense" if you were pre-meditated enough to carry said stick while expecting trouble. What next ? a gun ? sticks only work if they are a walking stick, or for your dog to, runners do not need walking sticks....( yet )  and you obvioulsy need a dog for the second

    Self defense is a very iffy area. you best weapon is your body. it can run, and when used well, can be far more efective than most people imagine. go to your local gym/sports centre, and enroll on a suitable self def. course to find out. they are really useful ( did one as a kid.... and I'm a bloke ) and help when you least expect it. (Like when i encountered a burglar, while he was raiding our home.) They are about defense, not fighting. First lesson = don't get into the situation. 2nd lesson ? RUN AWAY + RUN AWAY FAST  - as a side bonus, the different workout will help your Core muscles, and vary your training routine.

  • The other thing,

    Is If you don't do the first 2 bits of self Def. well, and need to get into "fight" mode, well, it's gone wrong already, but remember to LOOK calm + confident - yes, that's hard to do, as inside, you'll be "bricking it" - just think about it.  A Lion picks the weakest Zebra to eat, crims follow that mentality. Looking "Well 'Ard" may just put your wannabe attacker off, calmness confuses them, they think THEY should have the upper hand, and YOU should be scared, BUT, here, YOU are looking calmer, and more confident than the crim. gets them worried, and once you have the balance of power......RUN AWAY  + RUN FAST You wil run faster than you ever imagine, the body is good at finding extra hidden "emergency" power

    Always carry a phone, and a bit of cash - ( a £2 coins, not a fiver, coins hurt when they are thrown well, fivers..... don't  -  either can buy a bit of bus fare, even to the next stop, don't have to be all the way home. Busses have CCTV too. ) the phone is to get help with. Your keys are a good weapon if required, but you should never need to use them for that purpose, if you go to the Self. Def. course. Above all, ALWAYS have a pre-planned escape route, from anypoint on your run routes, and a "safe house" be it a chip shop/cafe/library, anywhere you KNOW is safe, and know the bus routes/times too etc. can help if you twist an ankle too, it's not all about the crims in the shadows

    It's all about situational awareness - eg don't run past the pub at kicking out time, or in the dark + dingy bits.

    Be careful, be confident, but enjoy your running + self def. course image

  • That's really bad, what an arsehole.

    I'll share a story with you that may be helpful. My uncle used to be a solicitor and usually drives a quite nice car (at the time it was a brand new toyota celica). One evening he had stopped at a shop in a rough area and on the way back to the car felt somebody following him. He hurried to the car but they managed to stop him closing the door and he looked up to see three youths with dark hooded tops on trying to steal the car. On the spur of the moment he decided that it was already too late to be able to get away or attract peoples attention but maybe he could scare them off. He decided to act like a total nutter, and being an amateur actor drew on that experience. He screamed abuse at them whilst pretending to attack them. They drew back in shock and it allowed him to drive away and get home, where he could gibber in fearful panic at his own leisure.

    Mostly these people are opportunistic idiots and will disappear at the first sign of any serious resistance, but it is worrying that he came back round for a second go. Shame you couldn't kick his wheel or something. Better still if he does it again knock him off his bike, put the boot in, then nick his bike and ride away fast towards the nearest police station image

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