DANGER IN FAMILIAR PLACES
A surge of anger saddens my heart with the senseless murder of yet another female jogger here in New York City. Out on her daily run, doing something she loved stopped by an unforeseen assailant, stealing her life in an instant. I had to write this post. Perhaps a reiteration, reiteration, reiteration of the message: Don’t Run Without Protection—may save someone’s life. Never let your guard down, believing a jog in broad daylight or around familiar trails doesn’t warrant protection. The day you forgo that can of pepper spray, or your choice of protection, could be the day danger crosses your path.
I must confess I’ve had my share of scares on daily runs: An approaching group of male teenagers hanging out in the park heading in my direction; a van trailing beside me; the sound of quickly approaching feet from behind; the rustling movement on the side of a dark trail; a homeless man reaching out to grab me. Fortunately, I was quick enough to speed away. But that one instant could have changed my life drastically.
Run Alert To Your Surroundings
The greatest source of protection is your eyes, ears, and intuition. Your senses are crucial in helping you perceive potential danger and may give you time to thwart your assailant’s actions. This brings to mind a young woman I saw running in the dark of dawn with music blasting in her ears. Yes, that beat puts extra energy in your stride, but it’s a distraction—distraction to the sounds around you. Someone could be at your back in an instant, and you wouldn’t have heard them approach.
Be mindful of your surroundings. It’s critical. Don’t rationalize why you don’t need protection. Sure, you’re fast and think you can outrun danger. Not! That’s a fatal mistake. The only way to guarantee your safety is to be alert, prudent, and armed with protection. There are several measures to take as a lone female runner; the obvious would be not to run alone. But when that’s not possible, take precautions:
Leave The Earphones At Home.
Alter Your Route Often. You become a target to potential stalkers who know your route. Take a different path to your destination. Try a different course. If possible, alter the time of your run.
Carry Runner’s Mace.
Tell Loved Ones Where You’re Running.
Carry a Cell Phone. If in danger, you can immediately call someone.
Carry a Whistle or Alarm. Place around your neck or in your pocket. Use to scare off perpetrators or to alert others you’re in danger.
Take Self-Defense Classes.
Several Styles of Pepper Spray
Other Forms of Protection
Tigerlady device: A handheld device which when squeezed ejects sharp, feline-like claws. The innovative groves at the bottom capture the assailants DNA, so this little device works not only as protection but provides evidence that can be used to find the attacker.
Stun Flashlight. For those night runners, this acts as a weapon and a flashlight.
Lil Guy. Contains 12,000,000 volts of a stun gun with an operational flashlight. Very compact and portable.
It’s a dangerous world out there, but don’t let scary headlines prevent you from pursuing your passion outdoors. Just remain prudent and hit the trails with alert eyes, ears, and protection.
Photo: Courtesy of www.mellewvirtual.com