A FEMALE-ONLY running group is still prevalent for women’s safety a year after it was founded which was prompted by the murder of Ashling Murphy.

Nina Sarpong, of Wood Street in Wallingford, started her running group following the of the 23-year-old Irish teacher in January last year.

Murphy was attacked and killed while jogging along the Grand Canal just outside Tullamore, County Offaly.

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Ms Sarpong, who runs the sports shop Runwize in St Mary’s Street, decided to start the group to help other women feel safer and states a year on that safety in numbers is still important.

This follows this news that Metropolitan police officer, PC David Carrick, admitted to 49 charges - including 24 rape counts - for crimes committed over an 18-year period.

“It is still about safety,” said Ms Sarpong. “Especially in the winter months. People don’t want to go out on their own in the dark.

“It’s not like Wallingford is unsafe but it is not sensible. There are lots of alleyways I wouldn’t go down alone but I will in a group.

“I think people don’t really think about it and have told me to worry or overthink. But I don’t think I am overthinking – it is not right for me to go out alone at night.

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“So it still is on my mind as a woman. You just don’t know and I think women still need to be aware.”

Ms Sarpong added that she provides advice to male runners to help women feel comfortable when they do go out for runs on their own.

“I put some male running etiquette online,” she said. “Such as not running directly behind a woman or crossing the road and a lot of them are mindful of that.

“I’m not worrying to death about what is out there but I am still mindful.”

The runner leads the all-female running group on Tuesday evenings at 7pm and has had about 400 bookings in the past year as well as 50 new women signing up.

They meet at her store Runwize, which she took it over in November 2020, and the group run a 5km route.

“I’m amazed,” she said. “I’ve had ladies show up unconfident and have never run 5km before and now they are training for half marathons.

“I’m so very proud of them all. It’s just a really sociable and comfortable group and a nice, safe environment.”

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The group celebrated the one-year anniversary yesterday (Tuesday, January 24) as well as donating period products to the charity All Yours through Mollies Café in St Martin’s Street to give back.

To take part in the group, or for more information, contact Ms Sarpong on her Facebook page called ‘Runwize’.


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This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Abingdon, Didcot, Wallingford and Wantage.

Get in touch with her by emailing: gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @geeharland