'My life was at risk:' Woman on early morning run attacked in Seattle

SEATTLE -- A woman running around Green Lake early Friday morning says a man grabbed her from behind and groped her.

Neighbors in the area heard her screams and quickly called police. She survived the attack but now wants to warn other runners in the area.

Maria Ball runs in the Green Lake area all the time with the Green Lake Running Group. But this time she decided to run on her own. That’s when a strange man attacked her.

Ball filed a report with Seattle Police and the case is being investigated.

“All I knew was that I needed to scream," Ball said. "I needed to get help.”

Ball, who works for Q13 News, says she was training for the New York City Marathon when a man in a black hoodie and blue jeans grabbed her on Ravenna Boulevard. He put his arms around her and then groped her, she said.

“I shoved my elbows back and I screamed as loud as I could because I knew my life was at risk," Ball told Q13 News. "I didn’t know if he had a weapon, I didn’t know if he was going to shove me in the back of a van. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me."

Ball says neighbors immediately came out of their homes to see what was happening and then called police.

Mandy Seever lives on Ravenna and heard the screams from across the street. She’s also a runner and saw Ball post about the attack in the Facebook group.

“Ever since Maria’s post, I’ve reached out to all the friends that I have that run," Seever said. "I said if you need anything, stop by. If you don’t feel safe for any reason, stop by. I definitely am not going to go out for morning runs, which is unfortunate."

Ball says she didn’t get to see her attacker because he ran in the opposite direction after she broke free. She’s thankful that she got away unharmed, but she wants other runners to be on the look out.

“This guy will attack again and it will be more violent when he does it. I’m just terrified for runners in Seattle," Ball said. "This guy is still out there and I hope he gets caught."

For those looking to join a running group, here are some local possibilities:

Seattle Green Lake Running Group 

Seattle Running Club 

Everett Running Groups

Tacoma Runners 

Bellevue Runners Meet-up