Here’s a real-life situation that has inspired these running safety tips, especially for female runners.
Bob Marley once said, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice”. These words may just have been a quote to Kelly Herron- until the day when being strong during a spine chilling ordeal, was her only choice.
Trail running safety
Kelly was allegedly attacked in a public restroom at a Seattle park during an afternoon run. She later wrote on her Instagram the following :
“My biggest running nightmare became reality- 4 miles into my long run Sunday afternoon, I stopped to use the restroom and was assaulted by a man hiding in a stall (that is my GPS in red lines). I fought for my life screaming (“Not today, M**F**er!”), clawing his face, punching back, and desperately trying to escape his grip- never giving up. I was able to lock him in the bathroom until police arrived. Thankfully I just took a self-defence class offered at my work and utilized all of it. My face is stitched, my body is “Not today motherf**ker!”
My biggest running nightmare became reality- 4 miles into my long run Sunday afternoon, I stopped to use the restroom and was assaulted by a man hiding in a stall (that is my GPS in red lines). I fought for my life screaming(“Not today, M**F**er!”), clawing his face, punching back, and desperately trying to escape his grip- never giving up. I was able to lock him in the bathroom until police arrived. Thankfully I just took a self-defense class offered at my work and utilized all of it. My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact. #fightingchanceseattle #ballard #runnersafety #marathontraining #womensselfdefense #myballard #fightlikeagirl #fightback #dontbeavictim #nottodaymotherfucker #youcantbreakme #instarunners #garmin #garminvivosmarthr
My question to you is this:
If you had found yourself in a similar situation as Kelly, what would you have done had you been in her shoes? Do you have any self-defence skills, as she does?
Running safely is something that we usually don’t think about until we’re posed with a dangerous situation.
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A situation like Kelly’s is one that makes you take a step back and think about situations that may have put you in harm’s way.
While Kelly’s nightmare is something you can’t really prepare for, there are running safety steps that you can take to prevent such attacks from happening to you, to a certain extent.
8 running safety tips that may save your life
1. Equip yourself with a self-defence skill
Learn how to defend yourself by signing up for martial arts for self-defence. Classes such as kickboxing, judo, Taekwondo Krav Maga and many others will equip you with moves that might save your life or save you from assault.
You can check online for self-defence classes in your area.
2. Arm yourself with running safety devices
You should arm yourself with running safety gear that you can use on a predator in the event of an attack. There are numerous running safety devices that you can buy without a permit.
You just have to check with your local authority about the legality of your weapon of choice, before buying or taking it out with you on a run.
Owning a running safety device is one thing, and learning how to use it is another story altogether.
You need to practice how to use your device correctly and effectively. There’s no use in carrying around any running safety gear if you can’t properly use it when the need arises.
I highly recommend that you get yourself one of these running safety gear below. One of them might just be used to save your life in a critical situation.
Running safety devices
This device looks like an ordinary pen but can be used as a self-defence weapon for night running safety.
2. Pepper spray
This is a handy tool for trail running safety or running at night. You can use it against multiple threats and is compact and easy to carry around.
3. A stun gun
4. A personal alarm which can sound for as long as 50 minutes
3. Wear reflective running gear
If you prefer trail running in quiet areas, then you MUST carry with you one of the running safety gears mentioned above.
However, if you just love running alone in the early or late hours of the day, then you MUST at least invest in reflective running gear.
These reflective running gear items will help you stay visible in the dark:
READ: 21 Awesome Running Motivational Quotes For Your Next Run
4. Always run with a buddy
Some people prefer to fly solo on this one but if you love a bit of company and are lucky enough to find a running buddy, then please always hit the road with them. You know what they say about power in numbers, you are less likely to be attacked if with a friend than when alone.
If it can’t be helped, and you have to run alone, then always check in with a friend or family member, by letting them know which route you’ll be taking.
Give them an estimate of how long you’ll take to run the course and as soon as you get home, check in with them again. This way if something is amiss, they will quickly notice.
5. Change up your route every now and then
People who run often will tend to have certain routes they enjoy and would rather stick to. If that describes you and running safely is important to you, then your runs should never be predictable.
Change up your running course every now and then, and when you do, inform a family member or friend.
A few months ago, while running on an isolated street, I had an encounter which gave me such a fright. A man suddenly came up to me from behind, and although he seemed not to have sinister intentions, I was terrified out of my cotton socks because I had not heard him approach.
After I regained my composure, he told me that he wanted to hand me a flyer for his small business. He also added, “I always see you running on this road and the other one which you take on other days.”
I asked myself a lot of questions afterwards. My biggest question, which perhaps, led me to write about running safely was ‘what if he had wanted to attack me?’ The experience was a huge eye-opener. I have, of course, stopped using that particular route and now run before sunset.
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6. Run in populated areas
Run in an area that has a fair amount of people. You are less likely to be attacked in an area with a good amount of human traffic than in an isolated environment. Predators thrive in places where their deeds will not leave witnesses.
7. Do not run with headphones on
Until recently, I had been running with music on, at full blast. The experience which I mentioned earlier about the man coming up behind me changed things for me. Because of the music, I wasn’t attentive to what was going on in my environment and didn’t hear his footsteps behind me at all.
Running with loud music on has its own merits – it puts that extra pep in your step. It also has demerits too – it lowers your sense of alertness.
I have found a balance now. I either run with the music on low volume or with just one earphone plugged in. Maybe, in the long run, I will completely wean myself off of running without someone singing in my ear.
8. Carry a mobile phone with you
Cell phones are convenient for running safety in so many ways.
- You can use it to place a call in an emergency
- You can install an app which will track your location and movements and relay the information to the people that you have chosen to receive it (RoadID, Glympse)
Other running safety tips include: making yourself visible by wearing reflective running gear, facing oncoming traffic if you are running on the road, running with a dog, and just following your instincts if you sense any danger. Remember, prevention is better than cure.
Do you run alone? What are some of the running safety tips that have saved you from danger?
44 thoughts on “8 running safety tips that might save your life”
What a scary ordeal to go through and a situation we all think about at times as to what would we do. I do think that instinct will kick in and you will find strength you never knew you had. Some great tips here x
It is frightening but thank God for the strength that kicked in!
OMG that is scary. I always power walk with a buddy as I am overly safety conscious.
That is wonderful that you have a buddy Melanie
Wow. I am so fearful of this – I truly hope I would be this brave!!! Great advice I will share x
I am fearful too 🙁
Oh my goodness, this is awful. I only run in the gym but the ideas here to keep safe are great for everyday use as well. I really do need to be more aware of what’s going on around me when I’m out. Very informative post, thank you x
Thanks for reading Lynne and stay safe!
This is precisely why I would like to learn self defence, it is so awful that she went through this but thank god she survived to tell the tale. Poor thing x
Yay for learning self defence!
These are great tips- I’ve been looking for a self defense class in my area since I’m traveling solo a lot this year and I always carry my phone with me on my runs.
Hope you find that class Danasia
I did see this story and Kelly was so brave, I’m bad I always run with headphones in as the music motivates me and I tend to run at night, but I always try to stick to populated areas x
Stay safe when you run at night Rhian. I hear you about having the music on 🙂
What an awful ordeal for this lady, some great tips here, stay safe!
Thanks for reading
How awful for her to go through this. I hate that people think that it is ok to do this kind of thing! I was raped in my own home on my 17th birthday and I just don’t get what makes men and women think that hurting another human being is ok? I’m so glad this woman is ok and I’m so glad that she is speaking out and I’m glad she did other wise others may not think of some of the tips you have wrote about x
I’m sorry to hear about what happened to you Jade. It’s horrible that one is not safe even in your own home.
omg… that’ scary! These are great tips. Self defence classes area great idea.
Thank you for reading 🙂
Wow so scary. Running with loud music is a no no.
I have learned to turn it down now 😉
Oh my gosh how terrifying! I am so glad that those self defence lessons were taken, god knows what I would of done, but I am extremely happy that what was learnt was taken in and was able to fight off this horrid person! I run and run at the crack of dawn, I certainly will be leaving the headphones in the house
Yes Lindsey, it was brave that she fought back and remembered what she had learned
How awful!! what a horrible ordeal!! these are some great tips on staying safe
Thanks for reading Melissa
Wow!!! Thank you for bringing this to light and providing us with the reminder. I don’t know what I would have done. I would hope instincts would kick in. The tips you have are great and I will share them with friends and especially my daughter.
No one deserves to be attacked. That guy is pond scum, and I admire Kelly’s bravery and ass-kicking skills!!
Thank you for sharing the post Crystal. Kelly’s bravery is awesomely inspiring!
That’s so scary, I’ve never thought about my safety when I’ve been running x
I hope you now will Stephanie 🙂
I’d never really thought about safety when running (or jogging as I do) – thanks for the tips, they’re helpful x
You are welcome Becca, stay safe out there
Thank you for highlighting this important issue when it comes to running. I use to live in the middle of nowhere (farmland) and I use to be really scared running on my own. xx
You are welcome Anna
ouch that looks awful! xo
How terrifying for her!! Thanks so much for the great safety tips! It’s so important to be aware of your surroundings. No run is worth risking your life. ❤
That’s really scary that people notice you taking the same routes – Definitely a good tip to vary where you run.
Just 2 miles from where I live a woman was attacked while running alone alone a canel. this happened just a few weeks ago and they are still looking for her attacker. It’s so scary to think there are people out there capable of such things. I would never go out alone and would always make sure i took my phone with me.
Thanks for this safety tips. We really have to make some safety measures in order to have ourselves feel secure everytime we go out especially when we are alone. Better be safe than sorry.
This is terrible! Such horrible people out there these days. Would never think this would happen!
Oh my gosh! That’s horrendous. We don’t know any self defence it after reading this we will attempt to learn x
Wow, this really makes you think! Horrible that someone has to go through something like that on a casual run!