Runner safety is a topic I discuss from time to time in this space. It’s important, but I admit to going through the motions in regards to it. In a lot of ways, I felt invinceble.
So what happened? I’ve dealt with things like loose dogs, the threat of a bobcat, random snakes, and the usual honking and cat calling. I feel like that’s all “normal” in the grand scheme of things.
However, this time, I encountered a woman, in broad daylight, who could be considered a threat. At the time, I didn’t know it, but she is “known” in our area, for her erratic and problematic behavior. Are there mental health issues at play? Yes, absolutely. However, that doesn’t make her a safe individual. I did end up calling 911, simply because she made statements like “I don’t want to live like this anymore” and “if we cut off our heads, will we die?” I was afraid for myself, but also that she might hurt herself or someone else.
It was a bone-chilling experience, and have no desire to repeat it.
First Things First
After I calmed down, the first thing I did was reach out to A’s karate instructor to talk about improving my runner safety. Not only is he a multi-degree black belt, but he is retired military, so he’s kind of a pro at self-defense. He agreed to take on myself, my usual running buddy, and her daughters for a women’s self-defense clinic, designed to give us moves to help us in situations where we feel threatened. I watch a lot of action movies, but I don’t know that that qualifies me to act towards my own protection.
Mr PugRunner and I had a long conversation about my runner safety (or lack thereof), when I go out alone. In many ways, I am incredibly safe. I don’t listen to music or podcasts, I change up my route, I let him know where I’m going to be and how long I plan to be there, etc.
I used to carry pepper spray, but it was awkward, so I would shove it in my sports bra. From there, the sweat led to some rusting, and I finally just pitched it as unusable. He would like me to resume that usage. I feel like I would spray myself in the face.
We compromised on this piece from GoGuarded.
The GoGuarded Hand-Held With Pepper Spray straps to your hand with adjustable velcro. It’s lightweight and easy to hold, which satisfies my requirements for not being annoying or cumbersome. I struggle with carrying even a water bottle and fuel on long runs, so this was a big deal.
Priced at $19.99, this piece boasts a pepper spray canister, and a short serrated blade of hard plastic, protected by two rubber flaps. That’s to help prevent “user error.” it’s very well made, and super simple to use in an emergency.
While I hate that it has come to this, safety is first, and I am much better protected now. I am looking forward to reporting back on my self-defense class and all the great tips I’m sure will come from that.
How do you handle your own runner safety?
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