New app makes joggers feel safer

FOX 32 NEWS - Jogging alone at night can be concerning for any runner.

But a new sports 'meetup' app isn't just connecting sports enthusiasts, it's also making them feel safer.

Hitting the pavement for a run should be done with ease.

"I like to run, anything to kind of just outside and stay in shape other than the gym," said Rachel Damerjian, a Bvddy app user.

Sadly, for some women in Chicago, stepping outside for a run left them fighting for their lives.

"He wrapped his hands around my neck and strangled me to the ground," one victim said.

Three female joggers were assaulted in the city within a month back in September. It's something that goes through a number of women's minds when they hit the lakefront.

"My mom and dad are constantly checking on me and they're like, please don't go outside, it's a big city and things can happen," Damerjian said. "So, I tell them don't worry I have a buddy."

She found her running partner, Jim through an app called Bvddy. The app links people through their interests in sports, rom running to soccer. It launched this past summer.

"The most important thing is facilitating the human interactions of people meeting online and then going into the real world is what we're really all about," said Bvddy founder and CEO, Pedro Ast. "And the fact that it's also providing safety while we're doing that is great."

The founder says Bvddy is now approaching half a million users, including Rachel and Jim. They run together three times a week.

"It's not the safest area all the time to run at night in Chicago, unfortunately. So, for guys and girls, it's a safer way to exercise," said Jim Capalvo.

"I don't think that I would be coming out definitely when it gets dark at night,” Damerjian added. "It gets me motivated to get outside because I know someone else is there."

The app also allows users to meet with larger groups.  Users said it gives people an opportunity to play sports and keep them safe.