Sunday, November 25, 2018

Blow it Up! Campaign

Carly Peters interviewed by CBC
We blew it up good on Harte Trail this morning. The Blow it Up! campaign had coffee, muffins, treats, tunes, heat, media, and lots and lots of high velocity whistles. Alas, someone forgot to invite the runners.  We had a couple of lone runners and a few more walkers, but not the droves we had anticipated.  Harte Trail, usually teaming with runners and hikers, was ...insert cricket sound...bare today.

Carly Walsh Peters is an active and much appreciated Ted's Run for Literacy board member. In between her duties as a busy mom, wife, professional career women, she has organized the Blow it Up! campaign. The old maxim, if you want to get something done, ask a busy person, applies in spades to Carly.

Unfortunately this campaign was borne from violence. A women was recently sexually assaulted by a man on this idyllic trail ...mere meters from where we set up. Coincidently, today is the United Nations International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women  Out of tragedy grows hope.  Ted's Run for Literacy received over $800 in anonymous donations to purchase whistles. Support was also offered by a Hi-Vis City, a local safety company that provided the whistles at a substantial saving.

The Blow it Up Campaign provides free whistles and a comprehensive information sheet for women's safety on the trail. We believe sound, especially the shriek of a high velocity whistle, may prevent a sexual assault from occurring. As Carly says, "forget politeness, if you feel threatened, blow the whistle".

The tip sheet also offers suggestions for men on how to best support the women and girls in their lives. Upon reading it I immediately reflected on my own past practise and caused me to reflect inward on my attitudes and actions towards women.  I consider myself one of the enlightened men, but even so, I've never run a mile in a woman's shoes. I take my safety for granted while trail running, while women run with heightened awareness of their surrounding.

Stay tuned for our next pop-up.  Grab a whistle for yourself or someone you love.

It's a good day to be alive.