My store: High Point / Off'n Running

Running Safety for Female Runners

Hi, runners!

In light of the (too many) recent attacks on female runners nationwide, I wanted to address safety while running.  You probably have seen the news about Wendy, the gal in DC that was killed last week on a busy street, Mollie, the gal from Iowa killed in May in broad daylight, and Karina & Vanessa & Ally, three gals killed within nine days of each other in 2016 while running in three different states.  Unfortunately, there are so many more of these stories as well.

Yes, it is sad that we live in a society where the onus is on us as females to do something about it. I know personally, I love the solitude and peacefulness of a solo long run while listening to music.  However, how many times have I heard, "stop running with music" or "you need to always be with other people."  Yes, it is unfair that we're the ones that need to alter what we love to do, but the reality is that we do need to be safe.

Last week on my long run, I had two situations in which I found myself a little anxious.  Perhaps I was being hyper-aware, but perhaps this also is not a bad thing.  While running on the greenway by Herbie's Hill, an older, thin gentleman with silvery colored hair saw me coming from pretty far away and stood on the grass along the greenway waiting for me to pass.  When I reached him, he started giving me the peace sign.  I looked him straight in the eyes and kept going.  About a half mile up the road on Joan Avenue (only a quarter mile from Fleet Feet), a middle-aged gentleman with a ball cap driving a blue pick-up truck started driving alongside me as I ran.  He was trying to talk to me, but I did have my music on, so I have no idea what he was saying. I stared at him straight in the eyes as he kept driving slowly alongside me until I said, "WHAT!", and he drove off.  

Again, maybe these situations were nothing, but maybe they could have been something, but regardless, in light of all these recent attacks and the anxious feeling I felt last week, I wanted to send some safety suggestions:

  • Trust your gut.  If you have a weird feeling about someone, don't ignore it.  Our gut is typically never wrong.  Perhaps head in a different direction for a bit, make noise, or do whatever you need to do to not be alone with this person or until they are gone. 
  • If you enjoy solo runs, try to run in areas that are more populated.  At the same time, try not to run the same routes at the same time every day.  
  • Look everyone directly in the eyes.  Say hi too, and show your confidence.
  • When on the roads, run against traffic so that you can see who/what is approaching you.
  • Make sure at least one person knows when you leave for your run, how long you plan to be gone, and your planned route.
  • If someone does verbally harass you, don't respond to them.  Yes, look them in the eyes to show your confidence/strength, but yelling something back can create added anger/aggression within that person.
  • Consider carrying pepper spray.

Ultimately, we need to keep ourselves and those around us safe while still being able to love what we do, how we want to do it, out there on the roads and trails.

Happy & safe running!

Coach Jen

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