16 Jan 2016

Women run in honour of Joanne Pert

2:13 pm on 16 January 2016

More than 100 women ran in honour today of mother-of-two Joanne Pert who was killed while out exercising in Auckland.

The 41-year-old was found dead outside a Shore Road home in Remuera earlier this month and a 24-year-old man has been charged with her murder.

A five kilometre run called Run for Her kicked off at 11am from Auckland's Victoria Park.

Organiser Lydia O'Donnell said Ms Pert's death had affected many women in the community who have been afraid to go out running ever since.

"I've been in contact with a lot of women who have said they haven't even gone out running yet because of what's happened.

"It's really shaken us, even myself. I'm an elite runner so I need to be training every day but it's crossing my mind now that there are dangers out there and you never know what's going to happen."

While Ms O'Donnell did not personally know Ms Pert, she said what happened to her was tragic and the group run was a way to honour her.

"We're really wanting to build up the confidence of girls after the attack that happened on Jo last week. It really shook women runners in Auckland so I really want to pull them all together and create that community back up and give them the confidence to regain our streets."

Jo Pert

Jo Pert Photo: SUPPLIED

Mandy Casey lives in Remuera close to where Ms Pert's body was found and also took part in the run today.

"It was shocking. My daughter was actually out walking the dog at the same time as it all happened.

"It's just being so close to home... I didn't know her personally but I just felt very strongly that I wanted to do this today for her."

While the suburb was generally quiet around this time of year, the footpaths were particularly bare, she said.

"You're not seeing the runners and the people out walking like you normally do at the moment. Actually just before I came here today my daughter just walked the dog around Orakei Basin and on a beautiful day she said 'gosh there was hardly anyone'. It's a bit sad that people are feeling unsafe.

"I hope that it doesn't put people off getting out and doing what they love to do."

Another runner, Tessa Pemberton, said it was scary that the attack happened somewhere like Remuera.

"I think this is all about empowering women and trying to get everyone to just move pass it and keep doing what we love and go out and walk the streets and run the streets and not be afraid."

Auckland women run in honour of Joanne Pert, who was killed while exercising in Remuera.

Auckland women run in honour of Joanne Pert, who was killed while exercising in Remuera. Photo: RNZ/ Tom Furley

The attack had made everyone cautious, she said.

"My sister and I go out all the time and it just makes you a little bit nervous and a little anxious. It puts you on edge now, whereas it should be something that's completely free with no worries whatsoever.

"This is kind of making people think that again, like that we are fine to go out and we shouldn't be afraid to go out especially as women."

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