Lake assault hasn't kept women off trails

Published: Sep. 10, 2016 at 7:50 PM CDT
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Around 6 a.m. last Wednesday, a 40-year-old woman was grabbed and forced off a running trail at Lake Zorinsky. The attacker tried to remove her shorts. She kicked and screamed and was able to get away. Has this incident scared off joggers?

When the sun is shining and temperatures are mild, it's usually a given that Lake Zorinsky will be crowded. "It's just a beautiful day," said Meg Rawson. "It was not something I wanted to miss. Pretty soon, we're not going to be able to walk. It's going to be too cold, so you've got to get here when you can."

News of the assault has left runners like Meg a little uneasy. "Disappointment. Just sadness in humanity I guess, but I think there's more good out there than there is bad. It's anywhere you go, really."

Was it enough to keep her off the trails? Not exactly. "At least once a week, usually. Sometimes more, it just depends on how the week goes."

"I'd say five out of seven days I'm here doing something." Marcy Rowe refuses to be afraid of one of her favorite places, but she is taking precautions. "I will never come, of course, at dark or even before sunrise, but I will probably still be alone frequently. I'll bring my pepper spray."

While it is unfortunate, it's also a new reality for several lake enthusiasts. "Probably just a sign of the world that we live in, I guess," said Bill Hansen. "When you have this many people down here, there's bound to be a bad apple every once in a while."

Police say the best way to stay safe when out running or walking along metro trails is not to wear headphones. Carry pepper spray when alone. If you can, run/walk with a friend.

The woman who escaped from her attacker said she'll no longer be running on her own.

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