What runners and self-defense experts want joggers to know to stay safe

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MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The abduction and murder of a Tennessee jogger in Memphis has sent shock waves through the running community.

In Wisconsin, runners -- especially women -- are focused on their safety right now.

Running groups urging members to do what they can to stick with their groups. Go out in pairs. The advice from lifelong runners, and also from self-defense experts.

"If someone grabs you around the waist, your elbows are free, you can go right like this," said Malissa Misch of MK Protection Services.

Malissa Misch of MK Protection Services is empowering women.

"Say you're walking down the street right? You realize oh some guy's following you. Cross the street. Who cares what he thinks about you. If he crosses the street, hmm. You might have somebody following you. Stop into a shop," said Misch.

Misch says attackers want your money, your body, your life, or perhaps all three. What you say can make a difference.

"Don't challenge. Don't threaten. Don't tell someone they're wrong. Don’t tell them what to do," said Misch.

Women are typically told the best thing to do is kick an attacker in the groin. Self-defense classes here in Menomonee Falls say first go for the face.

"So if I go to grab you what's open? Your face. So I poke, poke, poke, poke poke? Mmhmm exactly," said Misch.

Going out for a jog? Misch says stay in well-lit areas, around other people, and carry a fake wallet.

"I've got an Old Navy gift card with like a 50-cent balance on it, an old credit card that hasn't been connected to me in like 12 years. If they want my valuables great, I'll throw it, run in the other direction," said Misch.

Runners we met near the Summerfest grounds are on alert after Memphis jogger, Eliza Fletcher, was forced into a van late last week.

"It just is super sad. We want to all support each other. We want to support women like Eliza that it's just so wrong what happened," said Tina Jones of Girls on the Run of southeastern Wisconsin.

Cleotha Abston faces first-degree murder charges in Eliza's death. Four years ago, a similar attack happened in Wauwatosa when this man, Jovon Bethly forced a runner into his van, ordering her to leave her dog behind. She escaped. Running groups are encouraging others to be prepared, enable the GPS tracker on your phone and....

"Having running buddies, planning the routes, stay in well-lit places. If you start to feel that funny feeling in your gut that this doesn't feel right, turn around," said Jones.

So much valuable information. Milwaukee has a number of running groups, you can find them on Facebook. Carry pepper spray, but be sure it's not more than a year old.

MK Protection Services has an upcoming self-defense class. Click here for more information on it.

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