Attacked runner taking back her favorite trail

KNWA

"I'm here because I don't want him to take this away from me"

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A local woman is recounting her attack while running at Lake Fayetteville four years ago.

Courtesy of April Wallace

On Sunday, September 13, 2015 April Wallace was attacked by a stranger while running at Lake Fayetteville.

“I was running a lap around the lake when a strange man chased me down, tackled me, beat me severely, attempted to strangle me several times, and dragged me into the woods,” Wallace said.

Wallace was able to escape her attacker and is just now starting to get back into the groove of running.

Courtesy of April Wallace

She hasn’t been ready to fully face Lake Fayetteville until now.

“This is like the missing link in my healing process to be able to return to my favorite place and not feel as afraid,” she said.

On September 14, More than a dozen of Wallace’s friends ran, biked, and walked her favorite trail with her to make sure she wasn’t alone.

“I sent out a call to friends thinking I would have maybe one or two join me and I was blown away that about a dozen responded,” Wallace said.

Courtesy of April Wallace

Katie Moffat ran along side Wallace on Saturday, to celebrate her overcoming her attack.

“Even in your darkest time, when the most horrific thing could possibly happen there is good that comes out of it,” Moffat said.

She said Wallace’s traumatic experience opened her eyes and the eyes of those around her on ways to be safe while running.

“When you are on the trail you wear headphones on both ears,” Moffat said. “I’ve been guilty of that too, but instead I like to listen to one headphone cause I can hear whats going on.”

Wallace said she arms herself with pepper spray but the best thing you can do to stay safe is have others around you.

Courtesy of April Wallace

Moffat said Wallace was shining on Saturday and has used her horrific event to reach others.

“I think that its brought the community together so we can all grow and learn and also help her,” she said. “I am truly honored that she opened this up for everybody.”

Wallace said she is finally ready to back her favorite trail and get to running each weekend like she used to do.

To read Wallace’s full story, click here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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