Stories of fellow runners being attacked and or hit by cars and killed are frightening. I know bad things happen everyday, everywhere, and I know accidents happen, people make mistakes, misjudge situations and the results can suck. Yesterday I head about 2 fellow fallen runners. One was a middle-aged man who was stuck and killed by a car, tragic and sad. The other was a 30ish year old pregnant mom of 3 who was attacked, robbed and murdered. I’m not linking to the articles or other blog posts, this post isn’t about them, it isn’t to honor them or to cry together. Stories like this get tweeted and posted on running forms all the time, it’s a sad but common reality of our world. Pedestrians and cyclist get hit everyday, people get attacked, murdered, raped and robbed all the time. We can not stop this from happening all together but we can try to be smarter, protect our selves so this happens less.
I moved on my own (for college) to Manhattan from a Connecticut suburb when I was 17, my mother, grandparents and other relatives warned me of the so-called ‘dangers’ lurking in ‘New York’. I was told to look out for the crazies, the murders, the homeless and the gangsters, as if it were that easy to just lookout for them, to be able to spot danger before it got too close. The most important thing I learned, that I grew to understand was I needed to be aware of my surroundings at all times. This goes for walking, running, driving and hanging out at the mall, where ever I am I am aware of who and what can be and is around me. It doesn’t matter if you live in the city, the country or in between, at one point or another you may be in a dangerous situation, what can you do?
Be Aware is my number 1 tip – always be aware.
- Knowing your route and varying your route’s location/time – if you run the same route everyday at the same time you may be inadvertently putting a bullseye on your back.
- Try to run in areas that are at least semi populated, creeps tend to stay away from crowds.
- Pay attention to traffic lights, rules and patterns – stick to the sidewalk or the grass if the road is not safe – by not safe I mean no shoulder, blind curves and or other poor visibility situations.
- Don’t listen to music – this may be rough at first if you are used to music but its easier to hear cars and you will be able to hear a creep approaching.
- If its icy, snowy, dark or late run indoors on a treadmill – not my favorite thing to do but better safe than sorry.
- In NY we have a saying ‘if you see something say something’ in this case if you ‘see something strange, weird or off – get the hell out of there’
- If you think you are being followed, find a safe(er) place, a store, populated area, or call 911. A good way to tell if someone is following you is to make 4 Right or 4 Left turns – most people/cars don’t travel in circles.
- CARRY your cell phone at all times – use it to call 911 or take photos if someone is seriously stalking/harassing you – as a bonus this may actually scare of potential creeps.
- Tell someone where you will be going and when you are expected to return.
- Run with a buddy, dog, or group when and if you can. Safety in numbers right?
- My mother insists that I carry pepper spray, I don’t (don’t tell her) but this could be a good option if you know how to use it. Similar would be carrying another weapon – I only recommend this if you have training with the weapon.
- Take a self-defence class – could help fight off a potential attacker.
- Carry some sort of ID – Road ID, Go Sports ID, Card with your name/contact in emergency #, etc. just incase