The man accused of kidnapping and killing Eliza Fletcher,34, in Memphis, Tenn. appeared before a judge on Wednesday. Fletcher, a mom of two, wife and teacher was going for a 4 a.m. run last Friday when she was abducted.
"It's devastating to the running community," said Ashley, a runner on the Katy Trail in Dallas Wednesday afternoon. "We should be able to run where ever we want and be safe, but unfortunately that's not the case."
Across the country, it's not uncommon to see people running early in the morning or late at night as they try to squeeze a run into the day. Everyone's motivation to hit the pavement is different, whether that's to get fit, decompress, socialize or have some 'me' time. Regardless of the reasoning, it's a therapeutic moment, which is why many are stunned by the violent and surprising act that happened to Fletcher.
"It's just a tragedy," said the director of operations of Friends of the Katy Trail, Bree Redwine.
"I always tell my runners to try to run with a buddy, the safest way is to have a running buddy," said Redwine who also suggests mace for people to run with.
She said if people can't find a buddy, to let others know their running route. She said people should keep the volume on their earbuds low.
"Sometimes with running you get lost and love that feeling, but however you just really need to be cognizant of your surroundings," said Redwine.
"I think the whole local running community is very shaken by the tragic events of Eliza Fletcher and at the Dallas Running Club, safety is top of mind," said Kelly Heatly, the communications director for the Dallas Running Club.
The group is made up of more than 1,500 people and they help keep members engaged, supported and educated.
“As runners, we all know the risks we take when we head out for a run. The Dallas running club does take safety very, very seriously, our training program includes many measures in place," said Heatly who also echoed running in groups.
What happened in Memphis is rare, but North Texas has had high profile cases involving runners in recent years. In 2020, a Plano woman was killed while going on an early morning run at Chisholm Trail Park. A former college football player was convicted for using a machete to kill a jogger along White Rock Trail. Most recently, a Dallas artist was shot while jogging.
"I know these situations are rare but it’s always top of mind for any runner to avoid such situations and Navigate around the risk," said Heatly.
She also suggested switching up the routine, something Redwine said she started doing years ago.
The mother of four used to run early in the morning in the Lakewood area.
"I was running, it was about 5:10 a.m. a police officer stopped me and said, 'Ma'am you might want to change your routine a little bit because I know you're here at 5:10 every morning,'" said Redwine. "I will never forget that."