Runners join forces for memorial run

By Ripeka Timutimu

A group of 200 people have joined forces in a memorial run for slain jogger Joanne Pert. Pert died after she was allegedly attacked while on her morning run in Remuera a week ago, and the Auckland running community say they won't be scared off the streets.

With heads bowed in silence, these joggers paid their respects to Jo Pert, who died last week while out jogging.

“It really shook our community and lots of girls have been in contact with me about running in Auckland and lots of them have felt scared to go out running again,” says organiser for the ‘Run For Her’ campaign, Lydia O’Donnell.

O'Donnell says, like most of these joggers, she didn't know Pert, but felt compelled to act after her death.

“It’s called ‘Run For Her’, it’s a 5km run we are absolutely honouring Jo but we also bringing the community together to build confidence up amongst female joggers, so we are going under the harbour bridge and along the waterfront, then a beautiful trail back,” says O'Donnell.

A 24-year-old Mt Roskill man was charged with her murder after handing himself in to police. Joggers in today's run say today is about empowering women to get out and about.

“I think there is something about females working out together that is so empowering and I think building this community is so important,” says O'Donnell.

O'Donnell hopes the ‘Run For Her’ initiative will continue so women can feel confident in exercising in our own communities.