#ExerciseOurFreedom campaign launched on National Running Day
To mark this week’s National Running Day (5th June), South Wales Police and partner agencies - Welsh Athletics, Run Wales, Sport Wales, Welsh Cycling and Ramblers Cymru - are launching a new #ExerciseOurFreedom campaign.
Whether a novice runner, a veteran cyclist or just someone who wants to enjoy some fresh air and take a stroll, the #ExerciseOurFreedom campaign aims to raise awareness that unwanted and derogatory comments or intimidating behaviour directed at those exercising is not acceptable.
Michelle: "I Was told we were running in the wrong direction for a Mcdonald’s, thank god I was with a friend otherwise I would have stopped and walked instead."
Leanne: "I have been called fatty etc I didn’t give a damn tho', I am made of tougher stuff. And at least I was up off my arse doing something x and not sat in a car acting all big or in the house playing games."
The public are advised that should there be a pattern to this type of behaviour or an incident which they feel is more serious it could be deemed as harassment and therefore a criminal offence. Those affected are asked to report it by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.
Gareth Hall, Run Wales Programme Manager commented,
“Running has been proven to positively affect the physical and mental health of those who take part in it. New and novice runners are the most likely to stop taking part if they have a negative experience. This is why Run Wales is proud to support a campaign that helps anybody enjoy all the benefits that exercise, and the great outdoors can bring.”
Chief Constable of South Wales Police Matt Jukes added,
“I love running and cycling in our fabulous countryside and through our towns and cities. I hate the idea that anyone should be put off doing that or intimidated when they are by harassments or by insults.
We want people to be safe and feel safe. It’s everybody’s right to enjoy our public spaces, fear free.”
The #ExerciseOurFreedom campaign materials will be shared online and offline by each of the partner agencies and aims to educate and empower local communities.