Lewes athletes do their bit for national crusade on women's safety

Lewes Athletics Club are campaigning to make the streets safe for women runners.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 7:30 am
The safety of women out running is in focus

At a time when women’s safety is in the spotlight nationally, one member has started an ‘Our Streets Now’ campaign and the club have issued guidelines for everyone to follow.

The club said: “Recent tragic events have highlighted the immensely important issue of women’s safety. At Lewes AC we take this very seriously – for our members, other people who run and take exercise outside, and every single member of our community. We all have a right to run and walk our streets and Downs, to take exercise, at any time of day or night without fear of harassment.

“For many, there are many barriers to exercising, fear and intimidation should not be among them.

“Lewes AC provides a safe space for girls and women of all ages to run and take part in other athletics events. Since the club began in 1984 training nights have been in mixed groups, with a strong emphasis on respecting each other, as well as developing as athletes or simply keeping fit.

“Lewes AC is for anyone who wants to be active whatever their gender, age or ability. Almost half our 450 members are women and girls.”

Our Streets Now is a campaign co-founded by young Lewes AC member Gemma Tutton, who simply wants women and girls to feel and be safe.

She wants women and girls to enjoy the sport they love without fear of sexual harassment – see more at www.ourstreetsnow.org/our-mission

The club say now is the time for the emphasis to be on what men can do to make women and girls feel safer.

Lewes AC is calling for everyone to show respect to women exercising.

Guidance includes:

* Saying hello to other athletes is part of the running culture so while a friendly good morning or afternoon will almost certainly be returned, but please don’t make comments, positive or negative, about a woman’s running.

* Don’t heckle from cars, honk your horn or drive slowly alongside runners.

* Keep your distance if you’re also running or cycling – having someone on your heels is intimidating. Give a wide berth or cross the road to overtake.

* If you’re in a group be aware many women runners feel intimidated running past you, allow them space.