Marathoner-in-training Kelly Herron just experienced her “biggest nightmare” become reality when Gary Steiner, a registered sex offender, attacked her while she was on a run.
It all started 4 miles into what was supposed to be a 10-mile run in Golden Gardens Park, Seattle. 36-year-old Kelly stopped to use the public restroom when she suddenly became aware that something was terribly wrong. 40-year-old Gary had been hiding in one of the stalls, and he suddenly sprang out of his hiding spot and threw Kelly onto the ground.
“He immediately took me down to the ground, hit both my knees and legs, and then it was a fight on the bathroom floor,” said Kelly, “and I just kept screaming, ‘Not today, m—–f—–.” Now she refers to the phrase as her “battle cry;” she didn’t stop screaming it until she was free from Gary’s grasp.
Thankfully, Kelly had taken a self defense class just a few weeks earlier. She fought Gary as hard as she could, hitting back as he repeatedly hit her in the face. “I started to feel like I was going to lose consciousness,” she recalled, “but I got another surge of adrenaline, and I reached for the door and was able to get out.”
Not only did Kelly escape the assailant, but she even helped police catch him! Once she got free of his grip, she recruited a passerby to help her lock the man inside the bathroom using a carabiner.
Kelly was using a fitness tracker app to route her run, and the app went crazy during the time that Kelly fought off her assailant, showing just how intense her movements were. Kelly posted photos of her fitness tracker’s GPS, the bathroom where she was attacked, and her face in the Instagram below. “My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact,” she wrote.
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.
Check out the video below for more of Kelly’s story and share her heroic escape!