Grand Strand runners discuss safety following Memphis runner’s kidnapping, murder

Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 9:25 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 8, 2022 at 11:34 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Runners in the Grand Strand are putting a new focus on safety as the days get shorter.

It comes after the murder of Eliza Fletcher, a teacher in Memphis, who was forced into an SUV last week while she was on an early morning jog near the University of Memphis.

Diane Costa has been running for four years and said the recent events make her think twice about when and where she runs.

“You have to run in places you know and feel safe,” said Costa.

A business in Myrtle Beach, Black Dog Running Company, is hosting a runners’ safety event at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13.

Black Dog Running Company is hosting a runners' safety event Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 6:00 p.m.
Black Dog Running Company is hosting a runners' safety event Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 6:00 p.m.(WMBF News)

The store actually planned it weeks before the murder of Eliza Fletcher making the topic even more relevant.

“I hope this doesn’t stop people from getting into running because no matter what there’s danger out there,” said Costa.

Down the road at Fleet Feet Myrtle Beach, owner Shawn Rogers said running has become about more than just what type of shoe you need.

His store carries what is called a rip-cord siren which is becoming more popular with solo runners.

“You simply pull the tab and it lets out a wildly loud alarm I mean piercing loud,” said Rogers.

As the days get shorter Costa and Rogers say it’s important to wear bright visible and reflective colors or try running with a friend or join a running group.

Rogers says with so much tracking technology through apps and GPS running watches letting someone know where you’re planning to run and when you should return could help save your life

“If it sees you’ve stopped it will contact your emergency contact letting them know something happened,” said Rogers.

Costa also says she’s invested in a runners tag which you can wear around your wrist with emergency contact information.

While some on social media have questioned what Fletcher was wearing and why she was running at 4:30 in the morning Costa said runners should have the right to run when and where ever they feel safe.

“You should be able to run whenever you feel like it especially when you’re training for longer distances that might be the only time you have,” said Costa.

Both Black Dog and Fleet Feet offer group runs throughout the week which are open to anyone.

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