Retired Shelby Co. deputy offers safety tips for runners

Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 6:23 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - After the disappearance and death of Eliza Fletcher, many Mid-South runners say they have no plans to stop doing what they love.

Some say they’re even more determined to run, with a renewed focus on safety.

Mary Evans, a 25-year vet of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, offered her advice.

She retired in 2019 and has since been teaching women about public safety. She’s also a firearms instructor.

Evans said hearing about the murder of Eliza Fletcher was like a hit to her gut because she’s had siblings murdered.

“I’ve had two sisters murdered and a brother, so I take it very personally,” Evans said. “I understand, I know what the family is going through, I know what they feel because I’ve been there.”

For many women, running puts their minds at ease.

But following Fletcher’s attack, there are renewed concerns about runner safety.

Evans says women should not stop running.

“Take others with you,” Evans said. “Run with your dogs if you have a dog, but definitely have some type of partnership, or a partner that you run with and maybe more than one.”

Her best advice: have a plan, prepare and practice.

“If you run every day or pretty much every day, there is bound to be a time that something will happen,” she said. “So go through those scenarios in your mind and say if this happens, I’ll do this, if this happens, I’ll do that. That’s what we do as officers.”

It’s also important to get your family involved and communicate.

Evans says let the people you trust know when you’re leaving home, when you make it to your destination, and when you’ll be back.

She says families should also utilize some type of security code name or word in case of danger.

“My children have had them (code words) all the way since they were children,” Evans said. “One word, if they call me and said that one word, I knew they were in danger.”

The measures may seem simple, but Evans says, “just think about it.”

Evans is co-hosting an event with former Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Captain Bennie Cobb where they’ll teach women the basics of self-defense.

It’s scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m., for more information call 901-348-0001.

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