Kelly Herron is a “marathoner-in-training” from Seattle, Washington. On Sunday, while she was four miles into her “long run” she stopped for a bathroom break.
It was there, in the Golden Gardens Park restroom, where her “biggest running nightmare” came true. Herron shared her horrifying experience on Instagram:
After entering the bathroom, Herron was ambushed by a man who had been hiding in a stall. She wrote:
I fought for my life screaming(“Not today, M**F**er!”)
The runner clawed his face, punched him back, and never gave up in her desperate attempt to escape. Her tenacity paid off. She successfully evaded her attacker and was able to lock him in the bathroom until police arrived.
During an interview with ABC 7, she said she noticed something was wrong as she was drying her hands. Herron called the battle a “fight on the bathroom floor.”
She described her drive to fight back to Seattle's KIRO 7:
“That was the only thing that was motivating me ... I cannot be raped by this guy in this place.”
In her post, Herron at least partially credits a self-defense class she took that was offered through her job. She “utilized all of it,” in the fight of her life:
She described to ABC 7 what she'd been taught:
“I learned to put your hard bones in soft fleshy places. So I just started beating the side of his head with the side of my hand.”
ABC 7 claimed that self-defense instructors agreed with how Herron handled the situation and recommended that anyone else in a similar situation should “be loud and fight back as hard as you possibly can.”
Which, is exactly what Herron hopes her story inspires in other women. The 36-year-old told KIRO 7:
“Being loud and not afraid. I mean you are afraid, but letting him know, 'you are not taking me down today. You are not going to win this fight.'”
Although her “face is stitched,” and her “body is bruised,” her spirit is still whole.
Herron was attacked by 40-year-old registered sex offender Gary Steiner. The Daily Mail reported that a police officer described Steiner as a “danger to the community,” and wrote:
“His predatory attack on a female in the middle of the day represents a brazen willingness to assault without concern for getting caught.”
According to KIRO 7, Steiner was charged with attempted rape and second-degree assault. Herron told the news station that she's “grateful to be alive.”