Once Becky started stumbling over mass graves, she decided to take up swimming.
"It's the joggers I don't trust, they're always the ones to find the bodies!"
The health-conscious analog of Disposable Vagrant
. Joggers have a tendency of being the target of Serial Killers
, muggers, and monsters in the woods. Similarly, they are also the most likely to discover the victims of all of the above.
Why joggers? Because it can be a solitary activity and this can be played for scares by making audiences relate to the solitude and helplessness when danger strikes. Recent technology (starting from the Walkman days) has graciously provided joggers with means of distracting their ears as well
, making them easier targets. Similarly, joggers are drawn to nature and secluded locations, both of which make for good places to snatch victims or dump bodies, and are often out first thing in the morning when everyone else is sleeping in. All in all, joggers in fiction are akin to Red Riding Hood
; colorful targets moving obliviously through dangerous places where nasty predators do their work.
A less common variation relates to the other usual outdoors activity for common people: walking the dog. Expect the Evil-Detecting Dog
to growl at the approaching danger, get killed defending their master, or to run away in fear. It's less common because it doesn't give as good an opportunity for loving camera work
on fit moving bodies, and people walking dogs would tend to be older and moving more slowly.
As a Death Trope
, there are unmarked Spoilers ahead.
- Happens in Detective Conan, sometimes. Usually, when the murder takes place somewhere open, and if it's not the protagonist(s) who discover the body first.
- In this Glee/NCIS Cross Over, Glee's Dave Karofsky is accused of murdering his friend and fellow Navy SEAL, Kimberly. She's attacked and brutally murdered during a morning run that he usually goes with her on, and since it's not allergy season, Team Gibbs initially don't believe his claim that he didn't go with her this morning because he had a bad allergic reaction the night before.
- Ace Ventura: Pet Detective finds the first major clue of the killer's current whereabouts in the storage room of the asylum where he stayed: a newspaper clipping about a missing hiker named Lois Einhorn.
- It happens an episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation. Sean runs over a jogger.
- The pilot episode of Grimm kicks off with a creature eating a jogger.
- This is occasionally how Law & Order gets from Start to Corpse.
- In The Sopranos, Mikey Palmice is killed while jogging.
- In Criminal Minds:
- In the episode titled "The Popular Kids", The first victim is snatched and killed while jogging.
- Additionally, "The Footpath Killer", although he killed hikers.
- Subverted when the guy found dead dressed as a jogger wasn't really one;the killer just dressed and used a process to freeze him in position so he'd look like a dead jogger.
- Played straighter with the jogger who was killed by the woman with porphyria, so she could eat his organs.
- In a fake commercial on Saturday Night Live, a jogger is running in Central Park and runs into a tunnel. Suddenly, his feet are glued to the ground he can lift either of them. As he looks around in horror, he sees another jogger struggling on the ground against the glue and in another spot, a skeleton wearing jogging clothes. As the screen fades to black, the jogger falls over struggling himself. The product: Black Flag Jogger Motel. The tagline: Joggers jog in, but they don't jog out.
- Several Monk episodes and novels have played with this trope: a few times when bodies are found in parks or rural areas, a mention will be made to a hiker or jogger finding the body. In the novel Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu, one serial killer preys on female joggers.
- Wanda Sykes has a bit about how women are always being told how to protect themselves and how the only way to really take the pressure off would be if vaginas were detachable.
"I would like to go for a jog, but it's getting too dark... I know, I'll just leave it at home." Yeah, it could be pitch black, but you're still out there, just jogging, enjoying yourself. Some crazy guy jumps out of the bushes and you're like, "Ah — I left it at home. Sorry, I have absolutely nothing of value on me. I'm pussyless."
- One of the several victims of Joe Darke in the first Ace Attorney game was a jogger who ran into him while he was burying his hit-and-run victim.
- In Regular Show, a jogger was one of the first things the Ybgir Jinx Monster attacked.
- In a The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror short, Homer runs over and kills Ned Flanders while he (Flanders) is out on a "fog walk". At the end of the segment it's also revealed that he'd already been attacked (and transformed) by a werewolf, making this an example of both variants at once.
- In the Young Justice episode "Secrets", a woman jogging at night is accosted by a bunch of thugs. Fortunately, Artemis and Zatanna are patrolling that night.
- Jogging can be a stressful activity for those who have health issues or who aren't used to it. Heart attacks, asthma, heatstroke, etc can result in a dead jogger fairly quickly if there's no one around to help.
- The investigation that led to the arrest of Ivan Milat, the Backpacker Murderer, was jump started by the discovery of a body by two joggers.
- This was tragically, the fate of Chandra Levy. After all the speculation that she had been murdered thanks to her affair with a married Congressman, it turned out she was attacked while jogging in the park.
- Nearly the fate of Tricia Meili, the Central Park Jogger, who was raped, beaten and left for dead in April of 1989.
- It's often said that the popular idea of a "good" rape victim, i.e. one who can't be accused of being in any way complicit in her own assault, is the nice white lady who's out jogging when a masked, armed stranger jumps out from behind a tree and drags her off into the bushes. Jogging is a wholesome activity mostly done by middle-class or wealthier people, and this scenario doesn't include any of the elements — like the perpetrator being known to the victim, the absence of a weapon, or the involvement of drugs or alcohol — that are so often used as proof that the victim "asked for it."