Running Safe

I consider myself very lucky to live in a city with an excellent Greenway system. There are over 50 miles of paved trails, many with excellent tree coverage, that wind along waterways, feature drinking fountains and restrooms (a lifesaving entity for any thirsty and/or queasy runner) and are usually in populated areas or well-lit subdivisions.Greenway2 I personally live and work within miles of any given trail-head and they have become a lifesaver for the majority of my training.

I’m not the only one whose a big fan of the Greenways in the area and I typically pass dozens of other runners, walkers, and bikers on my runs. Bottom line is I feel pretty safe. Greeway

Until a few weeks ago, when three separate attacks happened – one specifically to a women jogger – did I begin to question the safety of my runs. They have since caught the crazy in question, linking him to all the attacks, but I can’t help but allow the uneasiness to linger. That women runner could have easily been me – I’ve run that route dozens of times.

I don’t want to be one of those people who think the worst of everyone, and I certainly don’t want to limit myself to the safety of a treadmill in my home – running outside is one of the reasons I run to begin with. But I can’t help but think if that had been me, what would I have done? What would you have done?

For starters, I run with my phone. Not that it would be a beneficial weapon, or that I may even be able to get it out of my armband fast enough should someone surprise me, but it’s there. It’s actually linked to a tracker so should J need to find me, he could, and if I see anything suspicious, I have the ability to call for help should I need it.

J also bought me a mini mace to carry with me when I run, and sadly, I fail to do so most the time. What I do usually have with me, however, is my car key. Readily available in my side pocket, I figure it would be a decent clawing or poking tool if taken to an attackers face.

I don’t usually run in the dark, save for the occasional wee morning hours, and finding another poor soul willing to run 18 miles with me at 4:30 in the morning just isn’t going to happen, so having a running buddy is out. It’s been so hot out lately, that I hate to bring Bella on my runs for fear she may croak, but I fully intend to incorporate her back into my workouts with me as soon as the mercury drops.

Because who would want a big face of this coming at them? Say Ahh!I change my route up pretty frequently – I get bored pretty easily – and I try to run with only one headphone in if it’s a particularly lonely run. Most of all, I trust my gut. I’ve definitely crossed the road once or twice to avoid a shady looking person and although they were more than likely harmless, better safe than sorry.

So the moral of this post is that you can never really know what’s going to happen. Until you become a master ninja and can judo chop an attacker to his or her knees, the best you can do is be prepared. Bring your phone, bring your dog, bring your mace, and be aware.

Anyone ever run into anything sheisty? What did you do? How to you prepare for the worst?

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2 thoughts on “Running Safe

  1. I am more concerned about dogs than people, unless they are in cars. I always see the worst possible scenario happening and plan accordingly. If I ever see a stray dog or animal, I immediately start looking for a course of action should anything unexpected occur…ie. something I can climb on top of to keep me safe, a fence, a yard, tree whatever. I use to not be scared of dogs but after being chased on two separate occasions I no longer take chances.

    As for people, I am 6’3″ so unless I am running in the ghetto at 9 at night I am not too concerned for my safety. My main concern in my area (which is urban) is cars. Drivers don’t particularly pay too much attention in the morning while driving and nowadays, they are probably half asleep and checking social media or texting instead of paying attention to the road and runners. So when I see cars coming at me, I get back on the sidewalk and as far away from them as possible. I rarely run with traffic, I like to be able to see what is coming at me. I also wear either bright shoes or shorts just to be safe. As far as headphones, I dropped them in favor of the iPhones built in speaker…it helps me listen to music and hear everything around me. It also helps let people walking or running know I am coming…lord knows I hate surprising someone from behind when I pass…I would rather slightly annoy them with my music than scare the shit out of them. Anyway…carry that mace! SORRY FOR THE NOVEL!

  2. I keep meaning to download a phone tracker, so thanks for the reminder. I also have mace that I never carry – the few times I’ve thought about taking it was to deter dogs and not people. Most of the place I run are fairly populated; I’ve never run at night or in the morning before it gets light, so maybe that’s a false sense of security, but I haven’t found myself in any sketchy situations yet (knock on wood!). Actually, I am a little afraid of running by myself on trails. It’s annoying because I want to run trails to escape from people, but there’s a fine balance between solitude and a dangerous situation.

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