Run Without Fear set on Olympic Discovery Trail on Sunday

PORT ANGELES — A group of women will run the Port Angeles Waterfront Trail on Sunday in a show of strength and solidarity after a female jogger was attacked April 15.

Run Without Fear will begin in front of the Port Angeles Red Lion Hotel at 8:30 a.m. Sunday — exactly two weeks after a 34-year-old woman was ambushed on the trail east of the Rayonier mill site, where it is known as the Olympic Discovery Trail.

The joggers will head east along the trail, running or walking at their own pace, and return to Hollywood Beach at their leisure.

All women are invited to participate.

The loosely-organized event is meant to be a “unifying moment” that will “evolve into what the community needs,” organizer Carrie Sanford said.

Run Without Fear had drawn 277 “interested” or “going” responses on Facebook as of Thursday.

“Clearly, my interest in running without fear on the trail two weeks after a fellow female runner was attacked is something that resonated with a LOT of others,” Sanford said on Facebook Messenger.

“This is a chance for us to run together in support, solidarity and strength,” Sanford added. “The trail is for everyone.”

A woman was running with her dog on the morning of April 15 when she was grabbed from behind and tackled between the Ennis Creek parking lot and Gales Addition bluff, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said.

The woman fought off two men one-by-one without using mace or pepper spray and fled to the safety of others on the beach, Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King said.

The two men were described as being clean-shaven white men between the ages of 25 and 30. They fled to the west along the waterfront trial, part of the Olympic Discovery Trail, after the attack, King said.

No arrests had been made as of Thursday.

Deputies were investigating “persons of interest” but had no suspects, King said.

“We’ve followed up on several leads and got fairly excited, and they’ve turned out to be dead ends,” King said in a telephone interview.

The Sheriff’s Office has received complaints of transient encampments along the Olympic Discovery Trail near Port Angeles but had not investigated violent crime on the ODT in recent years, King said.

The last assault that King could recall on the ODT before April 15 happened near Sequim in 2012.

Spencer J. Silva was convicted in 2013 of attacking a 22-year-old woman on the multipurpose trail west of Railroad Bridge Park in July 2012.

Investigators said Silva was wearing a Halloween clown mask when he knocked a woman off her bicycle. The woman fought off her attacker by kicking and screaming until neighbors came to her aid.

A 7 ½-inch knife was found at the scene.

Silva, then 23, was convicted of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon and first-degree attempted robbery.

He was sentenced to four years in prison.

The Sheriff’s Office is now patrolling sections of the ODT between Port Angeles and Sequim.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

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