Monday, October 29, 2012

Runner Safety

As a mom of a ten-year old daughter, the kidnapping and murder of Jessica Ridgeway has been heavy on my heart these last few weeks.  If this event is not horrific enough, her murderer tried to nab a jogger several months earlier.  Thankfully, the jogger was able to get away without injury.

Now that the daylight hours are getting so short, many of us will be forced to run in the darkness early in the morning before going to school or work or later in the evening.  Not only has the Jessica Ridgeway case got me thinking about safety, I was at a Girls on the Run retreat recently where a presenter, Beth Risdon, spoke about marathon training, including runner safety.  This issue was close to her heart because her cousin was abducted and murdered while out on a run close to home last January.  You can read more about her cousin Sherry here.

Beth blogs at Shut Up and Run and she recently posted some tips on runner safety.

Attackers generally look for the easiest target: someone distracted, alone, or in a hidden area.  Did you know that running with just one friend decreases your chance of being attacked over 50%.  Run with two friends and your chance of attack drops to almost zero.

I rarely run headphones anymore.  They make me feel too vulnerable.  I like to be aware of the world around me and any threats.  While I don't always run with friends, I always have my dogs with me.  They may look like gentle giants, but I have no doubt they would tear an attacker (be it human or mountain lion) to shreds if they sensed danger.

If someone makes you feel threatened, scream as loud as you can.  They might be scared away by the unwanted attention.  Even if they are not an attacker, it's better to be safe than sorry and feel a little embarassed by your screaming.

Have you ever thought you could out run an attacker?  I know I've considered this strategy.  However, this weekend's Zombie Infested 5k has changed my mind.  During this race, zombies were hidden along a 5k race course.  Runners had flags attached to their bodies that the zombies tried to grab.  Once all of their flags were gone, the runner was "dead."

The race passed by my house and we had an especially wily zombie out front.  His long, stringy hair, ripped jeans and high tops made him appear to be more comfortable on the couch listening to Pink Floyd and smoking a joint, rather than out running around.  I didn't think he would be able to take many flags. 

I was wrong.  He mainly chose women as his "victims."  No matter how speedy the woman looked, he was almost always able to get her.  While his intentions were not malicious, it was eye opening to see how easy it could be to get caught by the "bad guy."

I don't mean to preach doom and gloom on my blog.  In fact, it's highly unlikely that you will ever be attacked.  However, I would be devastated if you, me, someone we know, or ANYONE was that one person who gets attacked.

If you think these tips are worthwhile, please pin or share them.  Here's to being safe out there!!!

Feel free to share any other safety tips you might have too.


Unknown said...

Suzy thanks for sharing! Just tonight, when my 16 year old daughter said she wanted to go for a run, in the dark, with her ipod, and my husband and I tried to tell her what a bad idea it was, (yes, she argued about it with us)I made her read this post. I hope she remembers these tips and stops thinking that "nothing bad can happen in Madison." It always pays to be aware, wise and slightly wary.

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

Suzy, it stinks that this is part of world but it is so, so we have to empower ourselves and educate others how to protect themselves. That zombie run must have been very eye-opening. Thanks for sharing these tips and bringing awareness through your blog.

A room with a view said...

Suzy, thank you for this post. I would totally reconsider my ponytail right now. I consider myself very careful and stopped going for hikes or runs alone when my friends were unavailable. A lot of good pointers for all. I hope everything is ok with you - I see you have not posted since end Oct, like me. I jump back in tomorrow.

nancy said...

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Irene Jennings said...

Nice read Suzy. Thanks for sharing some points regarding runner safety. I hope to read more interesting posts from you.

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Unknown said...

Nice tips for runners, thanks for sharing with us.
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Unknown said...

It is safer to run when it's light out, as opposed to when it's dark, but there's something that happens to most of us during daylight—we feel invincible. And this is just as hazardous as running by ourselves at midnight on a poorly lit street.

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Hannah Bailey said...

It's worth pointing out that running is not a particularly dangerous sport, and a bit of commonsense is all that is required. By doing some of the above should keep you safe and allow allow you to train whether you intend running alone or in the dark.

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