Talk turns to action

2013-11-20 00:00

CLARENDON runners and walkers have formalised a safe walking group route while residents are in the process of banding together to raise funds to build a fence around a vacant, bushy area that harbours vagrants.

Margie Henderson, who has spearheaded the community campaign to ensure the safety of the runners, said she had been inundated with suggestions and correspondence.

The campaign began last week after a Pietermaritzburg doctor was raped while out on her morning run in Villiers Drive.

Henderson said they were making every effort to ensure the safety of joggers, walkers and runners on the neighbourhood streets.

“Today I met up with a few runners at 5.15 am to spread the word of trying to set up running buddies, and I will be outside Clarendon School on the corner of Roberts Road and Villiers Drive again for the rest of the week to see who is interested in getting a Jogwa Buddy system going, or just to get names and numbers of regular Jogwas,” said Henderson.

Jogwa is the acronym Henderson has coined for the neighbourhood’s Joggers and Walkers Association.

“With the community spirit that was evident on Friday evening at the Red Socks awareness run, more people have indicated an interest in getting out onto our streets to enjoy our beautiful surroundings in safety,” she said.

While the Lower Clarendon Community Association will hold a meeting this evening, discussions are already afoot for the fencing of the vacant area close to where the incident occurred.

Henderson said offers for donations for the fence have been pouring in and they were due to meet with the municipality to come on board as well.

Suggested meeting times for the morning run or walk are as follows:

1. Stagger departure times between 4.45 am and 6 am, and hover around Clarendon School and The Wykeham Collegiate (TWC) (depending from which direction you come) until you have a running buddy.

2. Specific routes on specific days, which could include:

Clarendon School: Villiers, Voortrekker, Atwell, Dan Pienaar and Villiers back to Clarendon.

Roberts, Dan Pienaar, Atwell, Voortrekker, Villiers, Gloucester, Somers and Villiers back to Clarendon.

Roberts, Centenary, Kitchener, Dan Pienaar, Atwell, Voortrekker, Villiers, Somers and Roberts to Clarendon.

TWC, Voortrekker, Atwell, Dan Pienaar, Villiers, Clarendon, Roberts, Gloucester and Villiers to TWC.

Kitchener, Moreland, Fettes, Taunton, Roberts and Villiers to TWC.

A weekly Friday walk has been suggest at 5.30 pm, meeting at the carpark outside either Clarendon Primary or TWC.

“The idea behind this is to meet new runners and walkers and then move at your own pace,” said Henderson.

Safety suggestions that emerged from earlier meeting include running with a buddy or dog; finding a buddy en route; sticking to a route where you are likely to meet up with other running or walking buddies; and getting security companies to patrol specifically between 5 am and 6 am.

“Wear your Witness whistles and carry self-defence equipment. Only have one earphone in your ear and get a cheap cellphone to use when jogging so you can call for help,” said Henderson.

While no arrest has been made, police investigations into the rape are continuing.

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