Runners Notes
By Heather Cass Erie Times-News staff blogger
If you want to know anything about the local running scene, ask Heather Cass. A member of the Erie Runners Club for 10-plus years, she is immersed in the local fitness culture, and she's taking your questions.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: January 11th, 2013
Creeper alert at PISP

Just an FYI for you local runners who run the west side, Scott Park and Presque Isle State Park. Several runners have reported a “creeper” for lack of a better word. Here’s what one local runner (a guy) posted on the ERC Google Group:

I don’t want to start a panic but I feel obligated to let everyone know about this issue so that maybe this individual stops harassing people. I have definitely taken notice and will make this persons life as uncomfortable as possible when I see him by any means possible until he stops doing what he is doing. Along with this message I am also going to let the park rangers know and the MPD.

For quite some time now I have made it a habit to run around the Frontier, Scott Park, and Presque Isle area a once or twice a week. It didn’t take long for me to notice a particular vehicle that I kept seeing over and over again creeping by at slow speeds and making U-turns. At first I really didn’t pay any attention and kept my eyes on the road ahead and just assumed it was just another person passing by. No big deal, I see the same people over and over again on a regular basis that drive by.  Then it got to the point where it was blatantly obvious that this person was checking me out, and going out of his way to do so.  He would drive by slowly and almost break his neck looking out the window. Then he would drive ahead and turn around to drive by again, and again. At one point I thought I heard him say something but couldn’t be sure. I usually zone out during my workouts and don’t pay attention to much.  After a couple of times of this happening I mentioned it to friends and they thought it was not normal at all.

I continued to run in that area, as I still I do now, and I can always count on seeing this creeper/pervert out there. I call him a pervert because of the gestures he make from his vehicle as he drives by. Use your imaginations.  It didn’t take long for me to start yelling at this guy and gesturing back giving him the old  “number 1″ sign in hopes of scaring him off. It didn’t not work and I continued to see him. To my surprise, this guy even pulled up next to me one night after I left a bar on State Street and did the same thing. THE SAME GUY! I just assumed it was a coincidence since there is no he knew what vehicle I drove or where I was..unless worst case scenario is that he is following me. Most recently, just on Thursday, I saw him at it again down on the peninsula. This time after his second time passing by and parking on the side of the road I got so p!$$ed off that I threw a stick at his truck and he just sped of.  I haven’t been able to get his plate number but rest assured I will.

Has anyone else ever noticed this guy or had this issue? I’m tired of dealing with him and I see him as a threat especially because of the area he seems to be targeting. There are two elementary schools right there, Scott Park, the peninsula and I feel like i waited long enough to bring this up. You never know what a persons intentions are but this guy needs to stop doing whatever it is he is doing or trying to do.

He is an older white male that looks to be in his 60s, shaggy grey hair, wears a hat, drives a dark colored Ford Explorer (shade of purple, maybe a mid 90′s model, a little beat up)  with a black license plate on the front with what looks like a white skull and cross bones.

Honestly, at first I thought I was a little crazy and that I was probably blowing it out of proportion just a bit. But, in light of all the violence that takes place on a seemingly regular basis I should know that this is the wrong attitude to have. I’m not saying that you need to be paranoid and think that everyone is out to get you or that something is always going to go wrong. It’s simply just a good idea to pay attention to what’s going on around you and who is around you. Not only should you keep an eye out for this guy but anyone or anything suspicious. I don’t care where you live, there are always going to be shady people out there. Be smart, be safe, run with a buddy!

A  couple other runners (women) chimed in to say that they, too, had noticed this vehicle repeatedly turning and rubber-necking.

Just be aware, my friends.

* Pay attention.

* Keep the headphones down (or off).

* Run with friends.

* If you can’t run with friends, at least run with your cell phone.

* Avoid isolated areas! The back half of PISP is VERY isolated this time of year and cell phone reception is not great out there. Male or female, please don’t run the back half of the park alone in winter.

Join a Saturday long-run group

There’s quite a growing group of Erie runners who meet every Saturday at 7:30 at Sara’s to run at PISP. All are welcome. There are varying abilities (paces) there…the faster ones just take off ahead. The slowest pace is probably 9:30 to 10-minute miles. If you’re slower, you may want to join the group that often starts at 7:30 a.m. at the Rotary — they run closer to an 11 or 12-minute pace.  Most who run on Saturdays do at least 8, many do 10 to 12, those training for something often go longer.

P.S. Thanks to the Erie runner who posted this alert. I love that we all look out for each other.

Posted in: Dangers, Group runs
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