PHOENIX - It’s a night 18-year-old Kara Moore will never forget.
“I didn’t think about anything, I just ran.”
Moore was running alone about a mile from her house near 24th Avenue and Thunderbird Road, when she says she spotted a man in a ski mask hiding in some bushes.
“So I ran about probably 20 yards and turned back, and saw him running after me,” she said.
The high school cross country star didn’t waste any time after that.
“Honestly, I’ve seen way too many scary movies, and at that point I was like, ‘don’t look back, because you’ll trip and fall or something.’”
Kara Moore says she ran as fast as she could for at least a half mile before scaling a neighbor’s wall and hiding out in their backyard. When she thought the coast was clear, she ran the rest of the way home and called her mom, who then called police.
This is what Phoenix police had to say about the incident in a written statement to ABC15:
“Our officers responded and, while one officer talked with the young lady, others checked the area for the suspicious person. We found no one suspicious and, though an official report was not authored, the incident information was passed on to all officers who work the area to be on the lookout as they go about their day to day business.”
During the hot summer months, many runners will be exercising at night. iRun store owner Mark Cosmas says what happened to Kara Moore doesn’t mean people should stay inside and run on the treadmill.
“Your first bit of advice is to run with a buddy,” said Cosmas, who has been an avid runner for over 30 years. “Ditch your headphones so you know what’s going on around you.”
Cosmas also recommends wearing light-colored clothing, blinking lights, reflective vests, and carrying a whistle and pepper spray during your runs.
“Mix up your routes, because these kinds of people are going to study people’s habits.”
Phoenix police also recommend telling a friend or family member when you are planning to head out on a run, when you plan to return, and then sticking to that timeline.
Kara Moore hasn’t let that masked man stop her from running outside, but she is more aware of the dangers that could be lurking in the bushes.
“Honestly I didn’t think that would happen to me, and you probably don’t think it’s going to happen to you, so just be alert.”