23 March 2021

Running alone outdoors

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What is YOUR running routine?

Where do you run? Do you run with your headphones? Do you run on your own and prefer it or prefer to run in a group?

As I am sure you are aware that recently there have been many discussions on how women feel when they are out on their own walking or running. I have been interested to hear how many women are very conscious when they are out running / walking alone – mainly because I have spent my life being conscious about where I am running. Are you conscious?

This can be a difficult topic to discuss, but it is such an important one, and that is why I have written this blog. It is so important that you are aware and prepared when you go out for a run.

I have always preferred running on my own – or rather with my running companion, my woofa Mitzy. However, it hasn’t stopped me still being very wary of my surroundings. I think for me it stems from being followed, again whilst walking my old dog, when I was 13 or 14 years old. It haunted me for years. I thought I was the only one who was paranoid and avoided beautiful countryside runs when away for weekends or back at my parents. I only run as far as there are houses or where people can see me – always thinking there could be someone lurking.

Since the tragic murder of Sarah Everard, I have been amazed at the high percentage of women who say they feel similar to me or they will only run with a friend.

Though I totally agree that we shouldn’t have to feel threatened, I think we all have to be responsible for ourselves and prepare ourselves properly as unfortunately these horrible things can happen.

I know it is now being talked about – that we shouldn’t have to think about these things but unfortunately we live in a world where these tragic things do happen so our preparation for going out for a run is extremely important. Of course, men can be attacked too – so no matter what sex you are, I think we should all be aware and not put ourselves in any additional danger where possible, and be as safe and sensible as possible.

Most people running – actually I would say more women than men, run with headphones. This is probably fine during the day and in built up areas, but I do wonder why anyone – male or female, would run in the dark or in very solitary places with headphones.

I know a lot of runners are motivated by music or many are using the Couch 2 5k app – but I would recommend you keep the volume down so you can be aware of what is going on around you.

10 safety tips for running in the dark (I think these are all relevant whenever you go for a run):

• Avoid loud music
• Stay visible
• Lights (head light / torch)
• Run with a friend or a group (if possible)
• Tell someone where you’re going
• Take your phone
• Run against traffic
• Well-lit route
• Vary your routes and times and don’t share your routes on social media
• Instincts
For full article please read here.

I would love to know what YOU think?
Do you have any tips/advice you would like to share to help other runners?

Did you know that a 2020 survey, by Runners World UK, found 46.5 per cent of women reported that they at least sometimes experience harassment on the run, compared with just 9.2 per cent of men. It is a hard to read article but it is certainly worth it if you run regularly.

A very brave lady spoke out last week about being sexually assaulted on The Downs in Bristol at 7.45 in the evening whilst out running –  you can read more here. I am not sharing this to scare and worry you, and of course we all should keep running but I am sharing to help you think about your running process and how you can help to keep yourselves safe.

Unfortunately, the reality is, there will always be bad characters out there, I don’t think we will ever get away from that – some people – of either sex can be dangerous and want to rob you or attack you – so always prepare yourself or put yourself in a better situation so you can avoid those people!

This hasn’t been the easiest blog for me to write but I feel it is a topic which should be openly discussed so please share thoughts and advice to help keep ourselves as safe as possible.

Stay aware and stay safe. Vicki x

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