The recent spate of attacks on women and girls out walking by themselves has shocked the nation and left many wondering how safe it is to go out on your own at any time of day, never mind the evening.
et with exercising and keeping fit a core part of so many of our lives, people in Wexford are exploring ways to ensure everyone can get out and about while remaining safe at all times.
An initiative by Alan Monahan of Wexford Marathon Club (WMC) aims to provide walkers, joggers and runners with a safe space to run and a social outlet to meet other like-minded souls. Alan, who has been with WMC for five years, explains how it came into being.
“Myself and my wife are both members of the club, she has done 100 milers like a lot of people in the club, but I’d only do 5-10 km maximum. I joined more for the social element than anything, just a way of keeping fit,” he says. “We had a committee meeting just after the passing of Ashling Murphy and I suggested we run open nights for people, something for beginners or those just looking for someone to walk or jog with. It can be off-putting to turn up and see all these elite runners, and I thought they’d maybe rather see a guy like me, 45 years old, a stone overweight.”
As a result of Alan’s suggestion a new open night has been organised for Monday evenings in Min Ryan Park, an event which he says is for those of all ages, shapes and sizes and, most importantly, those who want the safety in numbers a group provides.
“We had about 20 people on the first night, people who had stopped running at the start of the pandemic and wanted to get back into it, there was also one lady who wanted to for walks at night and feel safe,” Alan says. “The whole ethos of it is provide that safety in numbers for those who want it, there were three older men who wanted someone to walk with too, so it wasn’t just women.”
But again, as the tragedy in Tullamore showed, it’s not just at night that people need to feel safe and, with that in mind, Alan intends to keep the weekly meet-ups going throughout the year. “We chose Min Ryan Park as its well-lit and it’s very open, has a good line of vision throughout and is a 900 metre circuit. We intend to keep it going every Monday night at 6.30 p.m. and provide that safety in numbers for people, it’s a way of providing people with some company as much as anything else. Once the evenings get better we may look at going to different locations in town.”
If you have any queries about the events you can contact WMC at email@example.com or through its Facebook page.