A running club today admitted leaving a trail of flour in a Singapore metro station which prompted a security scare and a three-hour shutdown of the station.
In a statement the Seletar Hash House Harriers, an all-male group that describes itself as a “drinking group with a running problem”, apologised for the “alarm and inconvenience” caused to the public.
…One of the group’s members, a 69-year-old man, was arrested for causing public alarm while two others, aged 59 and 70, are helping police with investigations.
Judging by their ages, these are veteran hashers and I hope they are not punished.
We wouldn’t say runner panic has reached epidemic proportions, because that might cause a panic. And we don’t want to discourage people from reporting suspicious activity to the police, but we would urge bystanders to take and deep breath and think before they set off World War III. This happened in Germany:
A person driving around in Hamburg’s Hamm area said he saw a runner wearing what he thought was a suicide bomber’s jacket, officials said. The runner reportedly “danced around” at a traffic light and entered a nearby building.
The witness found the runner’s behavior suspicious and called the police, who sent 60 officers, including special commandos and riot police to nab the alleged terrorist.
But it turned out that the man had only gone for a routine run and wanted to go back to his office after his workout, police said. He had been wearing a weighted vest over his t-shirt to increase the intensity of exercise.
“The witness thought it was a suicide jacket,” a police spokesman told reporters. The car driver was also alarmed by the way the jogger moved around in circles at the traffic light – probably to keep up his heart rate, they added.
I haven’t seen a photo of the runner’s vest, but I’m pretty sure it looked like this…
…and not like this…
But we have reported panic over a runner wearing an elevation mask.
You would think people would have enough real threats to be terrified about, but no. They’re calling police about chalk marks in the road and runners with ratty clothes. Now we have this, from Crawfordsville, Indiana:
A person jogging through downtown Crawfordsville caused quite the commotion Monday evening.
According to police officials, they received three calls about a man wearing camouflage and a gas mask.
Police reported that the man was running from Lane Place after seeing the police car. Scanner chatter included everything from a gas mask to a bullet-proof vest.
Police officials told the Journal Review Monday night that the man was just out jogging, wearing an elevation mask.
An elevation mask is used to simulate training at high altitudes.
It’s not appreciably different from the allergy mask we’ve seen Galen Rupp wear.
I was going to suggest that runners choose an alternate elevation mask to avoid such problems…
…but some alert citizen would probably call the cops (or the Mounties) because Snidely Whiplash was running around the neighborhood.