There is a thread going on over at Runners Forum about safety when running, particularly for females.
It got me thinking about how safe or aware am I on my runs?
I usually go running in the morning, around 6:30am. Currently the sun is just starting to come up at this time, but in a few weeks it will definitely be dark. Now I have all the appropriate gear in order to protect myself from other traffic on the roads, high vis clothing, blinking lights etc. This naturally entered my head as just part of the equipment I would need for running. However despite taking these measures to protect myself from other traffic I have taken no precautions to protect me from other people.
I rarely tell RP what route I am going to follow, and if I'm running on a sat morning whilst he is at work he wouldn't even know I was out. I never take a mobile phone and I run with headphones in so I wouldn't be able to hear anyone approaching me from behind. I run through a mixture of busy residential streets, just coming to life industrial estate and completely empty unlit woods and country park.
Am I being foolish? We live in a rural area with a relatively low crime rate and I have to say I have never heard of someone being attacked in the area, but the post has got me thinking I should at least be making sure someone knows roughly where I am and how long I am going to be.
I suppose the threat is not only from being attacked by someone but I could fall and hurt myself or get hopelessly lost and have no way of contacting someone to come and rescue me.
So what should be the essential rules for lone running? The Running Bug recommends the following advice for women
1. Tell the people you live with what route you are taking and what time you will be back
2. Vary your running time or route
3. Avoid poorly lit areas if running at night
4. Borrow a dog! (Or use your own I guess!)
5. Carry a personal alarm as a deterrant
6. Carry some money or a travel card so you can get home by public transport if you need to
7. Don't wear headphones, or if you must keep music volume down so you can hear sounds around you
8. Use discretion when acknowledging strangers
I think I would add to this
Carry a mobile phone
Where possible run with another person
I'm thinking of investing in a little bum-bag that I can wear whilst running to contain a few safety essentials: Mobile Phone, a few pounds in change, personal alarm, emergency contact card and possibly a small torch. Whilst I don't want to be one of those people that over reacts and is over cautious I also don't want to be the idiot that went out for a 2 hour run without telling anyone and got lost/killed/injured. I'm sure many people have heard the story of Aron Ralston which was the subject of the film 127 Hours . If only he had taken a mobile phone with him or told someone where he was going and for how long.
So remember everyone, lets enjoy ourselves but lets be safe too.