I have been thinking of writing this run safely post for quite a while now. The recent news about the murderer of a women who was running in Marcq-en-Barœul made me make the step to finally write it. It all started when I was attacked while running in a public park near London back in the year 2010. I was not taking any risks as this happened in full light, on a bright sunny Sunday (and God knows these sunny days are rare in the UK!!!). While running, a man suddenly caught me from the back, blocked me and laid me on the floor under the trees. Within a few minutes, the worse could have happened… Fortunately, he had to leave before he could do anything as a family walking in the park with their dog saw him. I was lucky, yes, VERY LUCKY.
So what’s the conclusion ? Of course to run safely we can read on all running blogs: Do not run in the dark, do not listen to music in order to make sure you can hear everything around, take a whistle with you… But I say: this is not enough ! NO, otherwise this would never have happened to me ! The risk for women running is anywhere. So what are the options ?
(…and get fat & lazy)
NO, NO, NO !!! No way ! Training even more to run my first marathon in 2012 was a way of making this kind of people (I’d rather say “things” as they’re not humans, you will agree with me on that…) wrong. Do keep running and enjoying your favourite sports.
YES ! This is by far the safest and most enjoyable way of running. This is also very nice when you are not that much motivated. Your friends will get you moving!
Run with a dog
But what if you want to go for a short run 20 minutes without having planned in advance and/or your friends cannot make it? If you are lucky enough to have a dog, then you will make it the happiest dog on earth by taking it with you. Have you ever come across any animal on the planet that enjoys more to be taken out for a walk than a dog? You’ll see: very quicly your dog will run at you as soon as you put your running shoes on 🙂
Take some self defense tools with you
So what if none if these options work for you ? We never know. You might not have any running friends at all. In this case I suggest you changing friends 😉 Or you might be travelling somewhere and you did not pack your dog in your suitcase because this might sound too obvious at the customs… If this is the case, then please invest in one of these little self defense tools that might be useful, at least to win a few seconds if anything happens:
- Pepper spray. Beware, these are allowed in some countries like France and not others (eg. the UK). You can find them in France for around 15€ in any hunting & fishing shop.
- Aerosol Alarm: This looks like a pepper spray but it is not one. If you press, it makes a very strong horrible noise which, hopefully, will make your agressor leave. This is what the British police gave me after my agression.
- Pocket Schocker/Taser: These are much smaller than the proper ones used by the police but they are still very disuasive. The most disuasive of all three I think. It also has a torch option. You can buy them in a hunting shop for around 50€. But be careful. Just like the pepper spray, these are not allowed in all countries.
Last but not least… Obviously don’t carry these in your carry-on bag otherwise… you’re in trouble 🙂
So now you are ready to go and run safely girl. You do not need to become paranoïac about this. But just follow these basic safety principles and you will enjoy the full freedom of running, just like me 🙂