Many women and people of colour are scared to run solo or in the evening - and the statistics speak for themselves, with 71% of women saying that they feel threatened on a run and 48% of them saying that this is a regular feeling of being threatened according to a survey.
Running at night, in the evening or during winter can throw up more safety concerns too - with many women changing their routines to run either in a gym or in the daylight.
It can become very easy to avoid running if this is the case, but we are here to tell you that you can eliminate as much risk as possible with a few changes to your run routine and kit. We want to help you keep running with some amazing personal safety tips for runners.
Why Runners use Personal Safety Alarms
Running late at night or in a unsafe area can be pretty daunting for women - women are much more likely to be attacked while running and also feel more unsafe. The level of anxiety itself can cause you not to train or to have shortness of breath.
We want to make running safer for women and also make it more comfortable to do so - we have assembled some tips and also how and why you should take a personal safety alarm (also known as an attack alarm or rape alarm) with you.
Personal Safety Alarms for Runners
Over the last few years, runners have been turning to personal safety alarms (also known as rape alarms but we discourage this term) - in Worcester city centre, 5,000 rape alarms were given out to help women feel more comfortable.
Personal safety alarms are incredibly loud and bright alarms when activated, they are designed to create as much noise and light as possible - drawing attention to the threatening situation to passers by and scare off the potential attacker.
The best personal safety alarms are light and durable - the Ashley Personal Safety Alarm has a 130dB alarm that can be heard up to 1000 feet away and a 200 lumen flashing strobe light. It's also activated with a pull pin, which makes it hard to put back in if you were under attack - meaning the alarm will continue to go off. This greatly reduces the chances of being attacked.
Here's how to use a personal safety alarm (full guide here)
Personal Safety Tips for Runners
As runners ourselves, we have decided to put together a meaningful list of tips that we have implemented as well as our friends and family - with many saying that it made a big difference in their confidence and feeling of personal security when out on a run. The safety statistics for women are alarming, with the NHS reporting 1 in 4 women being harassed before the age of 18. We want to be a part of the change to reduce this.
1. Lose the music
I know, a tough one to swallow - but having your sense of hearing can help you remain alert to your surroundings. That additional reaction time is extremely important and your also able to avoid vulnerable situations earlier.
Failing that, running with one earbud or at a lower volume is a good start. We know music is a massive motivator for people and this list is about empowering people, not sacrificing things.
However, if you're running in the evening or on a dark cloudy day, we would really recommend to ditch the music altogether
2. GPS Tracking
Use your phone to help with GPS tracking and let those close to you know you're out for a run. We found the best ways of doing this are via WhatsApp Share Live Location and iPhone's Find My Friends (set up guides linked).
It's also important to note that your phone should be charged and strapped to the body or in a zipped pocket - this makes sure its secure and hard to grab. We really would not recommend to carry it in your hand, if anything, this is likely to increase your chances of an unfortunate encounter.
3. Run in busy areas
This is quite a good one, the busier the area the less likely you are to be attacked or harassed - also choosing to run in the daylight will massively improve your personal safety.
Although it might be nice to run inn woods, it is much more likely to experience an attack there than a populated area - attackers rarely attack when they can be seen.
4. Use Safety Gear for Runners
Try buying reflective gear, personal safety alarms and running lights - being obvious is your best friend as it attracts attention from others