Keeping America Safe, One Runner At A Time


I found this note attached to my windshield yesterday.

I found this note attached to my windshield yesterday.

During a normal week in the summer, I typically run immediately after work.  My routine goes something like this:  I finish up work around 5:00, I lug my thousand-pound gym bag to a nearby restroom, I change out of my work clothes into my running outfit, and I drive about 2-miles to one of my employer’s satellite office buildings which is within half a mile or so of the nearby University Research Trail (URT). The URT connects to the Mallard Creek Greenway, which, in turn, attaches to the Clark Creek Greenway.  All in all, this series of greenways makes for miles of scenic, shaded trails – a perfect place for a summer run.

Once upon a time, I used to park across the street, at another business whose parking lot was directly adjacent to a trailhead.  I’d pull in the parking lot after work and park in the farthest corner from the building, next to the trail.  Since I started around 5:30, the lot would be mostly empty, with only a smattering of a dozen cars or so spread across a couple-hundred-spots parking lot.  I started my run from this lot dozens of times.

One day as I was stretching in this lot, a chubby security guard moseyed over and said, ‘Hey, you can’t park here.  This lot is for employees only.’  I politely tried to pursuade him to let me to continue to park as I was merely a harmless runner, but he’d hear none of it.  I quit parking there.

So I began parking across the street, at an office owned by my employer (quick legal disclaimer: my opinons are my own and do not reflect those of my employer – just to clarify and to keep me out of trouble).  I thought that surely I could park in this lot without harassment – after all, I work for these guys.  I’ve been parking here for months now.

Yesterday, I got back from my run to discover a note attached to my windshield (see the picture above).  Do I really pose that great a threat?  I always park in a spot as far away from the building as possible – I’m not taking some valuable spot and again, the lot’s mostly empty at this time of day.

I suspect – and any security experts out there feel free to correct me if I’m wrong – that this has more to do with some random shirtless guy (see my blog entry here for a picture of me running sans shirt – admittedly pretty scary) walking around in the parking lot (I cool down and stretch after the run) than it does with someone posing a security threat (see Bill Shires’ discussion on shirtless running here, and/or Theoden Jane’s blog on the subject here.)  I wonder if I wore a suit and tie if I’d get the same treatment.  Or, for that matter, would a pretty woman in a sports bra?  And I’m sure others could argue that they would have been approached by security much sooner than I was.  Might be worth a social experiment.

Believe me, I understand the need for vigilant security out there, especially in the world we live today.  I realize these guys are just trying to do their job.  But can’t some compromise be reached between the security world and the running world?  Has anyone else encountered this problem and come up with a solution?  If so, please let me know – I can’t keep bouncing from parking lot to parking lot.  The Paul Blarts of the world simply won’t allow it.


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