CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – More runners and walkers are hitting the trail with spring and summer approaching.

“I’ve actually been walking this trail since 2017,” said Chantal Slaughter, who was walking the McAlpine Creek trail. “This is actually one of my favorite places to walk.”

Safety remains a concern.

Some say they only come out with a deterrent, like pepper spray.

“You just don’t know who could be lurking around the next bend,” added Katherine Cregger as she walked carrying a can of pepper spray. “My thing is just to stay aware of your surrounding at all times.”

In September 2022, a woman escaped an attacker on the McAlpine trail.

CMPD hasn’t made an arrest, leaving area running groups to keep holding meetings about safety.

“We’re doing our part, and I know they are trying to do their part, CMPD,” said race director of Around the Crown 10k, Brian Mister. “We’re trying to get runners working together to help each other be safe.”

Groups say it’s no secret that women are more of a target on the trail; that’s why getting more male runners involved. There were two men at the first safety meeting; the number increased a couple of months ago to five at the next meeting, and the hope is for more this time.

“I think one thing I’ve learned going back to male or female runner,” added Mister. “A male runner, I don’t think we think about as much to bring our phone with us if something does go wrong as where a female runner from what we’ve heard in these meetings are constantly bringing it with them. So, it would be helpful if male runners thought about that too in case they see something or need to do something.”

As more groups join, organizers say they will keep educating because they want everyone to reach the finish line, no matter what time they are on the trail.

“We’re not always able to dictate when we can go running,” said Mister. “If that is early morning or broad daylight, unfortunately, I don’t think the perpetrators care about that either.”