Here’s a topic I never thought I’d be writing about: creepers.  People who make you feel uncomfortable. People who make you feel afraid.  Something that rocked our running group.

Let’s rewind… I live in a very safe community.  I’ve never thought twice about going out for a run or bike ride by myself.  In the dark, or in the light. Well, I do get a little weirded out about running in the dark, but that’s probably unfounded.  Or is it?

On a recent Saturday night I got a Facebook Message from a Facebook “friend” of mine.  This friend is a guy I barely know. As a coach, and being involved in the running community, it’s not uncommon for me to get a friend request from someone I met at a race, or met on a group run.  I don’t accept friend requests from anyone. I make sure I actually know the person, have friends in common – the typical stuff. I met this particular person once when I worked with him at packet pickup.  He’s involved in our running group, so I said yes. One point to add is that my conversation at packet pickup with him was super limited and I was actually a bit annoyed by him. I thought he was just a bit odd and said a few things that were questionable – I think maybe he had asked someone “how fast do you run?  what’s your fastest 5K?”. Sure, that might be something you’re thinking, but how often would you really say that to someone. You’d stalk them in race results for sure, but probably never ask them. Someone told me he had some medical condition (learning disorder??) but I honestly couldn’t remember what it was. So maybe that was why he acted that way, and I gave him a pass for his behavior.

His recent FB message was really out of the blue.  “Where have you been hiding lol” When I read it, I thought for sure his account was hacked so I didn’t reply.  The next day, another message was sent… “How have you been?”. At this point I looked on his Facebook page to confirm he had been hacked, but instead I saw a post he made about “people being rude that they read a message but don’t take the time to reply.  People suck at communicating“. Yikes, is he talking about me? So I answered his message. “All good here! Hope you’re good too!”

Next, he continued chatting with me.  Asking me about training. Am I running the marathon?  Yep. I kept my answers short and didn’t ask him questions.

The next morning I get a “Good morning” GIF from him.  Ok, that’s weird. I don’t reply. Maybe he thinks I’m someone else??  We aren’t that close of friends. More questions about my marathon training.  Then wondering what I do for a living. Odd. Then the really creepy question arrives…..   “Do you train by yourself?” My stomach dropped when I saw it.

At this point, I’m beyond creeped out.  I decide to not even “read” that one (not open up the message to show that I’ve read it).  In addition to telling my husband about it (which I did when I got the first message) I asked a few guys that know him to try to confirm the guy is just a little off.  No luck there, apparently no one really knows him well. I also tell my friends that if I show up dead, start the hunt with this guy! No joke, I want to lay a trail of bread crumbs in case I turn up missing.  I’ve read far too many People magazine stories that start like this. Why didn’t I just block him on Facebook? I wanted to make sure I could still see what he’s posting on Facebook in case something is super crazy.

At some point I accidentally “read” the message.  Oh crap, now he knows I’ve seen it. I answer to the point – “Usually with my husband or with the training groups.”.  After one more random question from him about “girl talks in the training groups”, our conversations end. Thank God!! I saw on his Facebook page that he had shared a link to a story about surviving a serial killer.  WTF?? Creepy!!

You’d think that’s where the story ends. But no, this is where the story gets SUPER CREEPY AND WRONG. It’s now Friday, a few days after our last conversations. I see a post on a private Facebook group that we should watch out for this guy. Her friend also got an inappropriate message from him. What the what? As it turns out, this guy tried to friend at least a dozen of the ladies in our running group. For those that accepted the request (because he has mutual friends), he started conversations that were far more inappropriate. He asked about training partners, as well as sexual partners! Very inappropriate questions.

To make matters worse, after confronted about his actions, he didn’t think he did anything wrong. It’s just how he “rolls” and he “jokes around all of the time” (he posted that on his Facebook page). I’m really not sure who confronted him, but I think it was a guy. In a slight twist to this whole situation, it was brought to our attention that he has Autism.

At this time I don’t know if my friends reported him to local authorities as we discussed or not.  I’m not sure if someone is going to have a further talk with him – someone who is close to him. Medical condition or not, this is JUST NOT OK.   It’s a scary situation (what if he goes farther??) and also sad (is he getting the help he needs??).  

Last week I went on a long run with my friend.  She carries a gun when she runs. I was a bit surprised when she told me.  She runs on the trails in thwe woods a lot. Carrying the gun is something that makes her husband (and her!) feel safer about her running alone.  Maybe that’s not such a crazy idea. You think things like this won’t happen in your neighborhood… but you just never know.

Stay safe out there everyone!! Yes, I will be carrying my phone and mace with me…. like I always do, but I’ll be paying a little more attention when I run.

I’m linking this with Kim and Zenaida for the Tuesday Topics Link-Up on this one. Hoping to spread the word.

Q: Have you ever been in a scary situation when running or felt uncomfortable?

25 thoughts on “Creepers. In my town??”
  1. Wow! Talk about creepy. This would have made me totally uncomfortable as well.

    I don’t get many random friend requests on Facebook but I do on Instagram. In those cases I decline and also block the person from viewing my profile.

      1. I have a feeling if he does show up, he might be knocked off course a few times! Or pushed into a tree. On accident of course.

  2. Being a male, I can honestly say I have never been in a scary running situation except maybe once involving a stray dog and I think that is why men don’t understand what female runners have to deal with. When I lived in Chicago, there were several assaults of female runners on the bike path our club used. Some of the women in our group carried those small audible alarms that emit an eardrum bursting noise when activated. The problem with mace is that it can blow back into YOUR face. Stay safe out there.

    1. I was thinking about that too. I’ve had women whistle at me while running shirtless and never once was worried that they were going to come back and physically assault me. But if I was a woman, that would probably cross my mind and scare the crap out of me!

  3. YIKES!!!!! Totally creepy. I’m also leery about friend requests…I ignore the ones from random people (usually guys) who don’t share any mutual friends, etc. Gosh, Lisa, stay safe! Maybe he’s just harmless and lonely…but maybe not. Go with your gut ((Hugs))

    1. In my heart of hearts I don’t think he was trying to harm people, but really you just never know. You just never know what people are going through and what small thing could trigger them. It’s sad and scary. 🙁

  4. I’ve had more than my share of unwanted male attention over the years with regards to running and fitness. It’s really odd. I’ve gotten really cautious. I had a neighbor start waiting for me in his driveway so we could run together and I put a stop to that immediately. It was really awkward–he made it that way, so I knew then I did the right thing. On IG I review all followers and block any who seem wrong–and trust me, there are a lot of them. Even in my running club, I’ve had some really uncomfortable moments with some of the male runners. I’m not out there to attract men. I just want to connect with like minded runners. I find it amazing that men feel they can just approach us because…they can. I’m sorry this happened to you, but know that you are not alone!
    Wendy recently posted…Can You Run When You’re Sick?My Profile

    1. It was such an odd conversation I really thought he had me confused with someone else! I’m glad I have a network of ladies who support each other and word traveled fast!

  5. That is creepy! I have gotten a few of those on IG and I immediately block them. Have you unfriended and blocked him? We really have do have to be careful about what we post on FB etc bc of people like that. Ugh so sorry this happened to you

  6. Wow, that is super scary & creepy. While my town is generally safe, there have been attacks on runners here And I run by myself a lot. It’s part of the reason I don’t run with music, and there’s one path I won’t run on (even though I like it a lot) unless I’m there with a group — or on a weekend, when it’s usually quite busy.

    I hope that you never have to hear from him again!

  7. Really scary! I got weirded out by a guy who seemed to know me on Metafilter then found me on Facebook and friended me, mutual friends so yes. Then he likes a pic of me dressed up and messages me, something about how I looked and “I felt I had to say this, if we weren’t both engaged I’d be really interested in you”. Ewwww. Showed husband, blocked, after saying that’s inappropriate and I don’t wish to interact with you any more.

    There are women in the trail running group I’m in on FB that carry guns and that freaks me out, too. At least you all know about this guy and can keep each other safe. Horrible!

  8. Oh man, what a story! I felt like I was reading a book. That is so scary. I am glad you are OK, well I am sure scared, but still OK. It isn’t OK what he did but I hope he does get the help he needs. No way can he continue doing this to other people. A few times I’ve been creeped out by drivers in their cars but nothing like what you went through.
    Zenaida Arroyo recently posted…Random Thoughts Thursday 113My Profile

  9. Glad the message got to the right people who can fix it. It’s truly the only way to fix these scary situations. So many creepers on Instagram
    If i felt I needed to be armed to be safe I’m not sure I’d ever go out
    Cari recently posted…Leaping into MarchMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.