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Jogger fends off would-be rapist with wits, self-defense

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Kelly Herron’s Instagram post. The picture at left represents her GPS tracks. (Instagram/Kelly Herron)

SEATTLE – On the fourth mile of a marathon training run, 36-year-old Kelly Herron stopped to use a public bathroom in a Seattle park.

“As I was drying my hands I became aware that something was wrong,” she tells ABC News, and as she turned around she found herself face to face with a man who “immediately took me down to the ground, hit both my knees and legs, and then it was a fight on the bathroom floor and I just kept screaming, ‘not today motherf—er.'” Herron said that bit of profanity became her “battle cry” throughout the attack, as she tried at first to lock herself inside a stall.

Her attacker, who police have identified as 40-year-old registered sex offender Gary Steiner, forced his way into the stall and “started beating me in the face with his hand. At that point, she realized, “this doesn’t have to be a fair fight” and remembering a self-defense course from weeks earlier, started clawing his face. “All those little things that I learned in my life … how to punch and everything came back to me,” Herron says.

With a surge of adrenaline, she escaped the stall and the bathroom. A passerby had a carabiner, and they used it to lock the assailant in the building until police arrived. Steiner faces charges of second-degree assault and attempted rape. He told police he went to the restroom with the intention of raping a woman, per KOMO.

As for Herron, she's undeterred: you'll catch her running the Seattle marathon this summer. "My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact," she wrote in an Instagram post.

View this post on Instagram

My biggest running nightmare became reality- 4 miles into my long run Sunday afternoon, I stopped to use the restroom and was assaulted by a man hiding in a stall (that is my GPS in red lines). I fought for my life screaming("Not today, M**F**er!"), clawing his face, punching back, and desperately trying to escape his grip- never giving up. I was able to lock him in the bathroom until police arrived. Thankfully I just took a self-defense class offered at my work and used all of it. My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact. #NTMF #fightingchanceseattle #ballard #runnersafety #marathontraining #womensselfdefense #myballard #fightlikeagirl #fightback #nottodaymotherfucker #youcantbreakme #instarunners #garmin #garminvivosmarthr

A post shared by Kelly Herron | NTMF (@run_kiwi_run) on