A marathon is an extremely long and grueling event, however, a runner can’t avoid when nature calls, which is exactly what happened to Kelly Herron from Seattle, Washington, a self-described “marathoner-in-training”, four miles into what she considers just a “long run” on Sunday. She stopped in at a restroom at the Golden Gardens Park and came face-to-face with every woman’s worst nightmare.
As she described on her Instagram post, 36-year-old Herron entered a stall and was instantly ambushed by a man waiting there, 40-year-old registered sex offender Gary Steiner. But unbeknownst to him, Kelly was more than prepared, taking advantage of some training she had been given at a self-defense class that was given where she works.
Herron didn’t back down when she encountered Steiner, clawing at his face, throwing punches, and never giving up in a desperate attempt to escape his clutches. “That was the only thing that was motivating me … I cannot be raped by this guy in this place,” She told KIRO 7. Eventually she was able to evade the attacker and managed to lock him in a stall until police arrived. Kelly was badly bruised and needed stitches above her left eye, but her self-defense training may have saved her life.
In an interview with ABC7, Herron told America what she had been taught and what every woman needs to know. “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.” Self-defense instructors agreed with the way Kelly handled the situation, recommending anyone in a similar situation to “be loud and fight back as hard as you possibly can.”
It seems now that being loud and fighting back is Herron’s new mantra, hoping her story won’t scare, but inspire other women. She told KIRO 7 the key is “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.’”
Herron said she is grateful to be alive and as for her attacker, Gary Steiner was charged with attempted rape and second-degree assault. Police went as far as to describe him as a “danger to the community, with one officer stating “his predatory attack on a female in the middle of the day represents a brazen willingness to assault without concern for getting caught.” Go Kelly!