I am a northern Hemisphere, early morning, runner. I am out the door at 5:15am most mornings, which means that for three-quarters of the year-round I am running in the dark.
Security on the run
Over the years, I have been attacked twice and chased once by a madman in a 4X4 with an axe, so I have become relatively street wise. I have put together this information sheet with tips for all women runners who run early in the morning, late at night, or alone in the country.
One thing I have learnt is that clinging shorts, bare legs and flowing hair turn you into an instant target of attraction. No matter how ugly, old or unattractive you might be feeling on your early morning run, there is something about hair blowing in the wind and a flash of legs that attracts trouble.
Running with a jacket, cap, and covered legs, in the dark at any rate, help you appear more asexual and it is the best camouflage protection.
As much as it is nice to feel the cool air against your bare legs, you should wear something to cover them. These days there are light weight tights on the market for summer wear that will avoid making you feel hot and uncomfortable.
I strongly advise running with a cell phone which you can keep programmed so that you can call help with one touch of a button.
You might also be a witness to an accident and by carrying a phone you could save someone else’s life. You may also trip or fall yourself, in which case you will be grateful to have your telephone handy.
Never carry a pocket or any other type of knife or weapon that could be turned against you. Your own nails and teeth are your best in-built weapons and use your voice to scream. I strongly recommend however, that you purchase one of those tiny little pepper protection purse sprays, lots of them have hooks on so that they can be easily carried, and if your attacker uses it against you, you will still live to tell the tale.
Avoid the same routes
Never run the same route or even same route pattern on certain days of the week. Vary your runs so that potential attackers can’t wait for you out of habit.
Stick to lit up pavements instead of dark secluded roads/alleys or woods no matter how attractive and peaceful it is to run off the beaten track. If possible let someone at home know for approximately how long you are out running for, and which routes you take.
Running with a partner
There are pros and cons for running with a partner. Running with a male partner obviously makes you much less of a target and less likely to run into trouble. Even running with a female partner is better than running alone. Running with your boyfriend or spouse is of course the best option, however, if you have children you tend to have to take turns to run, or you may not be compatible runners as partner may run a lot faster than you. Other possible running mates often have different schedules and they may not always be up to running at the same pace or with the same objectives. Sometimes you meet up with other male runners on the run who latch onto you and you may start up a running relationship. But beware, they often get the wrong idea, and a “When Harry met Sally” type situation could develop. On the run you might discuss many intimate details of your life your new running partner might quickly mistake what is for you purely a platonic running relationship with something more. You may find yourself in the situation where you having a hard time to shake them off, or problems with a jealous spouse.
Dogs as running partners are another alternative, but be forewarned as a puppy will take two years to become a decent runner. Dogs also stop to mark their territory often and stop to sniff other dogs all the time, not to mention that they have to be trained not to attack every moving target.
Your sixth sense
Running with a Walkman is extremely dangerous, you become oblivious to the sounds of danger, traffic etc. You should always be aware of your surroundings and sounds play a vital role. Listen out for the sounds of a car slowing down behind you, a rustle in bushes or accelerated sounds of someone running coming up behind you, especially someone not breathing like a runner, jangling keys or the sounds of distinctly non-running shoes.
Relief on the run
Before squatting to relieve oneself, always double check around you as you when you are ducked down out of sight, you and are obviously very vulnerable in that position.
Never stop to help someone with directions, even if it seems very impolite, make it a policy to just keep on running. If ever you feel someone has followed you, don’t go home, avoid letting them know where you live.
Lastly, if attacked, remember that as a runner you have secret weapons, i.e. make use of your lungs to scream, and your fitness, so that you can more than likely outrun an attacker!
Further Articles by Cassandra under the Women’s section covering :
- No Sweat .. Those Sticky Sweaty Problems
- Periods – Running Red Days
- The run-down on sports bras
- Women only events
- Paula’s pit stop
- Tokyo on a Trot Part II
- The doggone Olympic marathon road
- Running with poles
- Tokyo on a Trot
- Footcare for the Woman runner
- Mauritanienne 200 Race Report
- Shoe Generation Gap
- Maintaining motivation
- Security on the run
Who is Cassandra Davis head of the women’s section? | click here |