We interrupt our usual posting for a very important message….
This subject was brought to my attention by a good friend after reading the story of Iowa college student, Mollie Tibbetts who went missing while on a run July 19th. Although any circumstance involving a missing young person is devastating and heartbreaking, being a runner with friends who are runners, this story strikes a particular chord. With the increase of stories in the news of runners being followed and/or attacked it is becoming more and more important to spread the awareness of runner/outdoor exercise safety.
I’ve learned over the years that runners are a special breed, when there are miles to get in, there is no blizzard, boiling humidity, artic blast, or life schedule that will keep them from hitting the pavement, this fact includes time of day, it doesn’t matter, even in the dark, early mornings or late nights are common, and so is going out alone.
My first safety suggestion is, if you can avoid it, please do not go out alone. There are many groups that have members of all paces. I’m part of one in my area that is free and consists of people who love to run for fun or are in training. (Ask me about it, if your interested). Do a little research and it may surprise you how many people would love to run with you. I know there are some days you just get the urge to jump out of bed and get it done, but sometimes taking a moment to make a plan with someone can make all the difference when it comes to your safety. If you can, go with a friend(s).
I understand this may not be feasible all the time, and although I thoroughly enjoy running with friends, there are times when a solo run to clear my mind is necessary. If you do choose this route, go protected and make the choice to think of safety first. Below are a few suggestions to take into consideration that I practice, but to reiterate the importance, I have also included the Safety Tips from the RRCA.
Practice Safety – 5 Tips for the Solo Runner/Cycler/Roller Blader….
1) Trust Your Instincts– Listen to your gut. If you feel like there is something off about a location or a person, DO NOT HESITATE. Leave or call the police. Even if it turns out to be nothing, you are better to be safe than sorry later. I cannot say this louder, Trust Your Gut, you are probably right!
2) Be Visible – Wear reflective clothing, a head lamp, flashing lights and bright clothing. You want to be seen, by cars and by people.
3) Change Your Route Up – It’s easy to get into a routine of a path you like to take, but it’s also easy for someone to predict where you will be as well. Change it up, keep them guessing, and keep yourself safe.
4) Tell Someone – Don’t yell out into the house that you’re going for run, tell someone your route and how long you plan to be out. It takes a second to send a text, write a note or call, that second will make a difference if you are stranded, hurt or in danger.
5) Arm Yourself with Some Type of Protection, including your phone-Bring your phone. If you need to call, you can, and if you need to be tracked you can be. Also, there are many items out there designed to protect you that are light weight, easy to carry and discrete. I, myself own pepper spray and a finger knife. There are also stun guns, key chains or noise makers. If you do not own some type of protection, please think about getting something. I’ve included links for the distributors of the products I have in the below picture. (Damsel in Defense – https://www.facebook.com/Michelle-Mack-Damsel-In-Defense-Pro-1375319369462210/) ; Go Guarded – https://goguarded.com/ https://www.facebook.com/GoGuarded/)
While these are just a few tips, one of them can save your life. That statement is truly powerful, it can save your life, and your life is so very important to not just you, but so many around you, please do not take safety for granted. Practice it, run safe and come home to those who love you.