by MELANIE MITCHELL | JULY 2019
RUNNING SAFETY: SKILLS AND TIPS
Stepping your foot into a running shoe should be a door to a new adventure, a step towards a goal, a start to the day ahead or the ending paragraph to wind down at nightfall. What it shouldn’t be is an anxiety-inducing experience wondering if you’ll be safe out on the streets or trails.
Extremes tend to make headlines. Running safety usually comes into the national conversation when tragically a random murder occurs. But a 2017 survey conducted by Runner’s World involving over 4000 runners also disturbingly reported forty-three percent of women in the survey had experienced harassment while running (compared to four percent of men) and 30 percent had been followed by someone in a car, on a bicycle or on foot.
While we shouldn't let the statistics hinder us from venturing out the front door, we cannot deny they exist. Taking the time and steps to learn some self-protection techniques is prudent for all runners, female or male.
RUNNING SAFETY: A PERSONAL TALE
Kelly Herron, a runner from Seattle gained an infamousy she was not looking for when she heroically fought back when mid-run when she was attacked in a bathroom shouting a battle cry ‘not today mother f***er’ repeatedly to her assailant. She accredited techniques learned in a self-defense class three weeks earlier to what she brought to the fighting table that day.
Herron’s message in the aftermath of her experience was a rally cry for runners to empower themselves and take back our cities, our beaches, our trails.
Todd Williams, an Olympian in middle-distance running and martial arts athlete has dedicated his post-pro career to exactly that mission – empowering runners through his RunSafer Program. Read on to learn more.
TODD WILLIAMS: RUNSAFER
Enter two-time United States Olympic distance runner and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Todd Williams. Todd created the RunSafer Program to empower runners. He uses techniques learned from martial arts and teaches how to apply these to a personal safety situation.
According to Todd’s RunSafer site, an assault occurs at least once every two minutes. Whether you're a runner, avid athlete or just enjoy a walk in the park it’s prudent for us all to learn valuable safety tips and ways to escape dangerous situations.
And moreover, let’s commit to all look out for our fellow runners. We’re part of a powerful tribe. When the shorter days come and you see someone dialing back their runs out of safety concerns, we can all make the time to run with buddies or as a crew – because when we’re out there running, the world is a better place.
TODD WILLIAMS: RUNSAFER
RUNSAFER AT JACKRABBIT
Joining a group run is a common way for runners to not only connect, but also follows the 'safer in numbers' mantra that Todd teaches in his RunSafer programs. JackRabbit and our partner stores are committed to our group run schedules where no pace is too slow, and no pace is too fast. You’ll always find a crew to run with at our stores because our mission it to support all runners.
Check out one of our stores near you to find your run tribe.
HOW CAN I STAY SAFE WHILE RUNNING?
If you can’t make it to a RunSafer event, Todd offers some useful guidelines on running safety to keep in mind. ‘Use your common sense’ is probably the parental mantra we all heard as children. Guess what? The parents were right all along.
BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS: No matter where you go to run, make sure you're always aware of your surroundings. It's so easy to get complacent and forget to be diligent about your safety….make sure it's a priority every time out!
IDENTIFICATION: When you head out the door to run, jog or walk please make sure you have personal ID attached to you. Hopefully nothing ever happens but having your information just in case of an emergency could possibly save your life.
WALKING THE DOG (YOURS OR SOMEONE ELSE’S): Our canine friends are great deterrants as well as our best friends and running partners. It's a win-win to run with a dog, or someone else's dog, for both the human runner and the furry kind.
PARKING: Many people drive to the location where they will walk or run. Be aware of your surroundings when pulling into a parking lot. If you're the only one there or if someone is in the area that gives you a gut feeling that something doesn’t feel right then leave, go to another place to run that day. Never be complacent about your personal safety.
SAFETY NAME: If anyone approaches, confronts or in worse case scenario they put their hands on you and you feel you may be in danger, try to have a name in your head you can start yelling out. If you could possibly plant the seed of doubt in their head someone is nearby they may leave you alone without having to physically fight them.
BE SMART LISTENING TO MUSIC: We’ve all done it. Jamming to music with our earbuds stuffed well into the ear sockets. We won’t deny running with your favorite tunes is one of life’s pleasures, keep the volume down to a level where you can hear everything around you or only use one earbud.
This way you are better aware of other individuals, bicycles or vehicles and can react much faster if they enter your personal space….TURN IT DOWN!
GO WITH YOUR GUT: When preparing for your run, try to remember to listen to your gut feeling. We've all been in situations where we need to pay attention to our surroundings and make smart choices about our personal safety. If it's choosing another training route because of lack of people in the area or picking a different parking spot because no one is around those are the smart choices to make to keep you out of potential trouble.
POWER IN NUMBERS: Running alone is a way for many to reset, to get a specific training session done or just because we are all on completely different schedules. Running alone can be a very enjoyable experience, but it can also be a dangerous one.
When preparing for your run, always try your best to select a route that's going to be populated with many other runners, joggers and walkers. It's critical for you to do your research and exercise around others. If you enter a park or trail that you usually run, but no one is around, make the choice to find another location. A dangerous encounter is less likely to happen when you make this choice instead of being alone.