COLUMBIA. Md. (WMAR) - She's a wife and a mother of two kids. She has a half marathon medal. But her strongest moment happened on a trail off Old Montgomery Rd. in Columbia.
"I heard someone coming up from behind me very fast and I heard heavy breathing. And I thought well geez, sounds like he's right on my tail. Sounded like he was literally right behind me, he couldn't get any closer. I feel hands on either one of my breasts. So I screamed you coward, you coward. And I kept screaming," said the woman, who we will not identify since she is the victim of a sex assault.
There was a loud scream and the man was gone. The woman is the first of three similar incidents according to police - all on women, all on trails, all in Columbia.
She was grabbed on August 7th. Howard County Police say another happened two days later and then two weeks later.
"He just got, not to be gross or anything, a good feel. He groped me," she said.
But as days go on, the fear and the question what could have happened, have set in.
"Every time I would think about coming outside to run, my heart would start pounding," she said. "And instead of something I enjoyed and it relieved stress it was causing stress."
She was always running in the daylight, without headphones, around other people. But the attacker found a split moment.
"How dare you take something that previously brought me nothing but joy and stress relief,” she said.
The word "determined" is on her chest. She may have changed her route, but she isn't changing her plans to earn a marathon medal.
"Initially, I never ran outside because I was always afraid someone would laugh at the fat lady trying to run. So I never thought it would happen to me. It can happen to anybody," she said.
Police think one person is responsible for all three attacks, and they say other victims may be out there. We have very limited details on the suspect, just that he is a black male in his 20's or 30's and he was wearing workout clothes.
As for his first victim, running helped her lose 60 pounds. She will keep going, but for now she's staying away from the footpaths when she's alone.
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