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Kelly Herron was out for a Sunday run when she encountered what she called her “biggest running nightmare.”
At mile four of her marathon training run, she stopped to use the bathroom at Golden Gardens park in Seattle on March 5. “As I was drying my hands, I became aware that something was wrong,” she ABC News. It was then she turned around and saw a man standing in the bathroom.
“He immediately took me down to the ground, hit both my knees and legs, and then it was a fight on the bathroom floor,” she told ABC. “And I just kept screaming, ‘Not today, motherfucker!'”
Herron escaped into a stall, but it wasn’t long until the man entered from the side and “started beating me in the face with his hand,” she said.
She began clawing at his face and using whatever self-defense techniques she had just learned in a class at work. However, at one point, she “started to feel like I was going to lose consciousness,” she said, “but I got another surge of adrenaline, and I reached for the door and was able to get out.”
Eventually, a bystander helped her lock the man in the stall until police came.
My biggest running nightmare became reality- 4 miles into my long run Sunday afternoon, I stopped to use the restroom and was assaulted by a man hiding in a stall (that is my GPS in red lines). I fought for my life screaming("Not today, M**F**er!"), clawing his face, punching back, and desperately trying to escape his grip- never giving up. I was able to lock him in the bathroom until police arrived. Thankfully I just took a self-defense class offered at my work and utilized all of it. My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact. #fightingchanceseattle #ballard #runnersafety #marathontraining #womensselfdefense #myballard #fightlikeagirl #fightback #dontbeavictim #nottodaymotherfucker #youcantbreakme #instarunners #garmin #garminvivosmarthr
A post shared by Kelly Herron (@run_kiwi_run) on
During the attack, the GPS in her fitness tracker detailed the gnarly back and forth in the bathroom, which you can see in the left bottom corner of her Instagram post above.
The perpetrator, 40-year-old registered sex offender Gary Steiner, faces charges of attempted rape and second-degree assault.
The attack hasn’t deterred Herron from further training for the Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon this summer, though. “My face may be stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact,” she wrote on Instagram.
Jessica Machado is the IRL editor of the Daily Dot. Previously, she was an associate editor at Rolling Stone. Her work has been published in the Washington Post, Elle, Vice, Salon, BuzzFeed, Guernica, Bitch, Bust, the Cut, the Awl, the Toast, among others.