May is sexual assault awareness month. Along with sharing shoe reviews and gear updates, it’s important to us to also share running safety tips with our readers. Please take a moment to consider your personal safety before you head out for your next run.
Detective Constable Lindsay White of Barrie Police Services, formerly of the Crimes against Persons Unit, who is also a runner, offers the following safety reminders.
First of all, the following are suggestions to reduce your personal risk while running. A person that does not do so is no means responsible for the actions of a person intent to commit a crime against them. However, as with passwords on your accounts and locks on your doors there are steps you can take to lessen your risk while enjoying your activity.
- Run with a buddy. This is ALWAYS a good suggestion. They can be company, motivation and if you injure yourself or experience some other medical emergency — someone is right there. And there really is safety in numbers.
- Sometimes you just can’t run with a partner but numbers still help. Stay in a populated, well lit area. Know your route and let somebody know when you leave, the route you are taking and when you expect to be back.
- Run with your phone. This almost goes without say as most of us refuse to leave the house without it. But if you have it and you encounter a medical emergency, get lost or find yourself in a situation that makes you otherwise feel uncomfortable or uneasy — help is at your finger tips.
- Keep your ears open. A lot of us need music to run, but if you can’t hear traffic, bikes approaching or footfalls behind you then you are at a safety disadvantage. Keep the volume down low enough that you can still hear ambient noise or keep one ear bud out.
- Bring a whistle. Whistles create attention and criminals do not want attention. Furthermore, if you fall or get lost you can use the whistle to draw help to you.
- Stay alert and trust your gut. We have been given instincts for a reason: survival. If you don’t like the looks of that path or that bridge or that group or person you are approaching — avoid it. Go around. Turn around. If the “friendly” stranger that has caught up and is chatting beside you makes you uncomfortable — ditch them. You do not owe it to them to be polite if it is compromising your sense of safety.