Two years after attack, Kelly Herron to launch self-defense class series

Mar 26, 2019, 7:26 PM
Seattle runner, gary steiner, Green Lake attack, Kelly Herron, self-defense...
Kelly Herron fought off Gary Steiner when he assaulted her inside a bathroom at Seattle's Golden Gardens Park in March 2017. (Colleen O'Brien/KIRO Radio)
(Colleen O'Brien/KIRO Radio)

Two years after fighting off a brutal attacker at Golden Gardens, runner Kelly Herron plans to help other Seattle-area female runners feel safer when exercising through a new series of self-defense classes.

In partnership with instructor Jordan Giarratano of Fighting Chance Seattle, Herron is teaching a free class on self-defense this Saturday morning at Optimism Brewing in Capitol Hill. Saturday’s event at Optimism will be a kind of kick-off for a larger series of self-defense classes that Herron and Giarratano will teach over the summer.

Herron herself had taken a self-defense class with Giarratano through Fighting Chance just three weeks before the March 2017 attack.

RELATED: Hundreds attend self-defense class after Golden Garden attack

“Because I was so grateful that I had taken that self-defense class from Fighting Chance Seattle, which came to my workplace, I truly feel that enabled me to save my own life that day,” she told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “From that point forward, I just wanted people to know, you have that power in your hands, we don’t have to walk around in fear.”

Herron was on a run at Golden Gardens in Ballard when 40-year-old Gary Steiner attempted to rape her in the bathroom. Herron fought him off with techniques she had learned in the course, locking him in the bathroom until police arrived.

“There’s this thought that self-defense is some kind of series of complicated moves and patterns that you have to remember,” she said. “The thing that I love about the way that Fighting Chance Seattle teaches is, it’s really about awareness and a couple simple things.”

Rather than having to memorize “how to throw the perfect punch,” Fighting Chance focuses on simpler strategies such as “throwing strikes, and showing that you’re not afraid even when you are, and just knowing where to deliver those hits, and the kind of presence to have in the face of an attacker,” she said.

The class is directed at “Seattle female runners who … like to run outside and feel safe, to know how to identify potential threats and avoid potentially dangerous situations and to just know what to do in the absolute worst case scenario.”

To learn more about the event and about how to register for this class and future classes, visit Herron’s website, Not Today.

Since the attack, Herron has moved out of Seattle to Vancouver, WA, calling it “the best decision I could have made.” She had previously told Dori that local government leaders have not worked hard enough to make Seattle’s streets safer for women.

“I love Seattle and I don’t want to speak poorly of it, but when I see what’s happening to my friends and my former coworkers, not only is it not getting better, but it’s getting worse,” she said.

However, Herron herself is devoting her career to making those streets less of a threat for other Puget Sound runners. Through her new business, Not Today — named for the phrase she yelled at her attacker, “Not today, [expletive]!” —  Herron is helping coach running and running safety with Running Evolution in Seattle and Vancouver WA.

“I’m just carrying that mission forward … trying to create new runners and also to help runners and other people just feel safe in their daily activities and commuting,” she said.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

Dori Monson Show

Dori Monson

Inslee Phase 2...
Dori Monson Show

Mayor of Winlock says Gov. Inslee should ‘submit himself to medical review’

The mayor of Winlock passed a proclamation saying he believes Gov. Inslee requires professional medical intervention for narcissistic personality disorder.
5 days ago
Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta...
Dori Monson Show

State Senator disagrees with making insurance rates a ‘zero sum game’

State Senator Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah) explains why he's pushing back against Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler's emergency rule.
5 days ago
teen hit and run...
Dori Monson Show

‘We are a country of laws’: Councilmember echoes calls to prosecute teen hit-and-run suspect as adult

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn is calling for the teen suspect of an alleged series of hit and run incidents to be tried in adult court.
6 days ago
class, quarantine...
Dori Monson Show

Federal Way mom says school district is unprepared for class to quarantine

A mom in Federal Way says her son's entire class has to be in quarantine after one kid tested positive for COVID, and there's no remote learning option.
8 days ago
Stolen truck, Everett...
Dori Monson Show

Stolen truck found, returned to 83-year-old Everett man

An 83-year-old Everett-area man is looking for his mint condition 1997 F-250 truck, after it was stolen out of his driveway earlier this week.
11 days ago
Tahoma High School...
Dori Monson Show

Student says fight at Tahoma school wasn’t racially motivated

A Tahoma High School student involved in a fight witnesses say included racial slurs is claiming that race was not a factor in the incident.
12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
By Alaska Airlines

Calling all football fans: follow Russell on the road

Take your Northwest spirit that we’re known for on the road this season with Alaska Airlines.
By Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
Two years after attack, Kelly Herron to launch self-defense class series