Runners make sure to stay safe after reports of suspicious man

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HIXSON, Tenn. (WDEF) — After reports of a suspicious man bothering female joggers in Hixson and Red Bank, police are urging people to be aware of their surroundings.

Sisters Allison and Annelise Rowell raced each other on their morning run.

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“It is better obviously to get out when it is cooler, so this morning we were trying to get out in the morning. We kind of got here when it is sunny still,” Allison Rowell said.

They always try to run with another person.

“Generally if I go running I am with someone in the family or I generally run in the gym,” Annelise Rowell said.

Police are warning runners of a suspicious man approaching female runners in Hixson and Red Bank. Two incidents happened within the past couple of weeks in the early morning. The man ended up not doing anything, but runners were scared. He was seen walking and also in a white van.

“I wouldn’t say it surprises me. It doesn’t surprise me. But it is good to know that other people are aware. It is not just me being paranoid or whatever you know,” Allison Rowell said.

Police want to remind joggers to be aware of their surroundings. They suggest running in pairs, carrying a phone, not running after dark, and not wearing ear buds. Allison says she takes measures to make sure she’ll always be safe.

“I have a key chain that has like an eye gouger thing on it. I have pepper spray that I sometimes use or carry with me. I try to take my phone if I am going without like somebody else who has a phone. Try to keep a phone on one of us,” Allison Rowell said.

Wherever the Rowell sisters run, they keep a careful watch for possible dangers.

“We sometimes run on our street, but even still we run together, we don’t use earbuds, we don’t go in wooded areas we stay in the main like visible area.”Allison Rowell said.

Police encourage anyone to report suspicious or possibly threatening situations