Knowledge is key to safety for early-morning runners

The safety event occurred in the shadow of the brutal kidnapping and murder of runner Eliza Fletcher.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 6:50 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - It’s a time when nobody but crickets are up and moving.

Well, almost nobody.

“Sometimes, I have to wake up at 2:30 and come and run at that time,” Yuriana Rodriguez said. “If it’s a 20-mile run. I wake up early and put in the work.”

Rodriguez is a wife and mother. She’s also training for the Boston Marathon.

“Strictly for at least two years,” she said. “Every day.”

She runs with the West Texas Gazelles, a Permian Basin running group that helps people train and get fit.

But this 5 a.m. start is different.

Rodriguez was one of numerous people, mostly women, who took part in a run/self-defense lesson outside of UT-Permian Basin.

The event took place in the shadow of the brutal early-morning kidnapping and murder of Eliza Fletcher, while she was running in Memphis earlier this month.

The goal was to shine a light on the issues women face when working out while the sun is sleeping.

“We’re out here today because we want to push back on the idea that women, in particular, aren’t safe to run,” runner Dawn Weaks said.

“It kind of made us feel sad, because we’re runners, and the running community is so heart-broken about this,” Rodriguez added.

The class went over different moves, nearly all of them violent.

“We don’t want anything bad to happen to any of us,” said Rodriguez.

That’s why they run at UTPB, because of the safety and security provided by the constant police presence.

The women understand they’re unlikely to ever be involved in an attack while running.

But that’s the thing about statistics. Somebody has to be a stat.

For the West Texas Gazelles, it’s all about having the knowledge to defend themselves if the unthinkable happens.

“Women can run safely,” Weaks said.