This post, on running safety tips, has been inspired by Kelly Herron’s fighting spirit during the chilling ordeal which she went through on 5 March.

Kelly was allegedly attacked in a public restroom at a Seattle park during an afternoon run. She later wrote on her Instagram the following “My biggest running nightmare became reality- 4 miles into my long run Sunday afternoon, I stopped to use the restroom and was assaulted by a man hiding in a stall (that is my GPS in red lines). I fought for my life screaming (“Not today, M**F**er!”), clawing his face, punching back, and desperately trying to escape his grip- never giving up. I was able to lock him in the bathroom until police arrived. Thankfully I just took a self-defence class offered at my work and utilized all of it. My face is stitched, my body is “Not today motherf**ker!”

 

My biggest running nightmare became reality- 4 miles into my long run Sunday afternoon, I stopped to use the restroom and was assaulted by a man hiding in a stall (that is my GPS in red lines). I fought for my life screaming(“Not today, M**F**er!”), clawing his face, punching back, and desperately trying to escape his grip- never giving up. I was able to lock him in the bathroom until police arrived. Thankfully I just took a self-defense class offered at my work and utilized all of it. My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact. #fightingchanceseattle #ballard #runnersafety #marathontraining #womensselfdefense #myballard #fightlikeagirl #fightback #dontbeavictim #nottodaymotherfucker #youcantbreakme #instarunners #garmin #garminvivosmarthr

A post shared by Kelly Herron (@run_kiwi_run) on


I do not know what I would have done if I were in her shoes. What would you have done? Do you have any self-defence skills? I have none.

Perhaps then, her disturbing experience is an opportunity for us to be more aware of the risks involved in running outside but at the same time, not leave us afraid and paranoid.

What are some of the running safety tips?

  1. Equip yourself with a self-defence skill or tool

If you can afford it, take up self-defence classes such as martial arts and learn how to defend yourself if the need ever arises.

You could step it up further and carry mace, pepper spray, a stun gun or any other sharp object that you can use on the predator. (Remember to check with your local authority about the legality of your weapon of choice and practice how to use effectively use it).

This running safety tip is mostly useful if:

  • Due to time limitations, you run alone early in the mornings or late in the evenings
  • You run long distances  which include isolated trails

Click here for running tips for beginners!

 

  1. Always run with a buddy

If you are fortunate enough to have a running buddy, then always hit the road with them.

For a lot of us, finding someone to workout with is not as easy as it sounds. I always run alone because I am yet to find someone reliable or one who shares the same passion about pounding the road regularly as I. And I know some people just prefer to fly solo on this one.

When the circumstances can’t be helped and you have to run alone, always make sure that someone is aware of your running route and has an estimate of how long it will take you to run the course. Make it a habit to check in with them as soon as you get home so that in the event that something unusual happens, they will easily know.

running safety tips run with buddy

 

  1. Change up your route

Yes, it is great to stick to a particular route that you enjoy but once in a while, change it up (let family or friends know when you do).

I was terrified about a month ago when I was running in the evening in an isolated street. A man came up behind me to hand me his business flyer. He had no sinister intentions and was just in a way trying to market his business but what scared me was that I had not heard him approaching. Afterwards, he said to me, “I always see you running on this road and the other route which you take on other days”. What if he had had other intentions? The experience was an eye-opener.

I have of course stopped using that particular route and I now run before the sun goes down.

  1. Run in populated areas

Run in an area that has a fair amount of people. You are less likely to be attacked in an area with a good amount of human traffic than in an isolated environment. Predators thrive in places where their deeds will not leave witnesses.

  1. Do not run with headphones on

Until recently, I had been running with music on, at full blast. The experience which I mentioned earlier about the man coming up behind me changed things for me. Because of the music, I wasn’t attentive to what was going on in my environment and didn’t hear his footsteps behind me at all.

Running with loud music on has its own merits – it puts that extra pep in your step. It also has demerits too – it lowers your sense of alertness.

I have found a balance now. I either run with the music on low volume or with just one earphone plugged in. Maybe, in the long run, I will completely wean myself off of running without someone singing in my ear.

running safety tips

  1. Carry a cell phone

Cell phones are convenient in so many ways during a run.

  • You can use it to place a call in an emergency
  • You can install an app which will track your location and movements and relay the information to the people that you have chosen to receive it (RoadID, Glympse)

Other running safety tips include: making yourself visible by wearing reflective colours, facing oncoming traffic if you are running on the road, running with a dog, and just following your instincts if you sense any danger.

I salute Kelly Herron and other brave survivors out there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

44 thoughts on “Running Safety Tips – Inspired by Kelly Herron

  1. What a scary ordeal to go through and a situation we all think about at times as to what would we do. I do think that instinct will kick in and you will find strength you never knew you had. Some great tips here x

  2. Oh my goodness, this is awful. I only run in the gym but the ideas here to keep safe are great for everyday use as well. I really do need to be more aware of what’s going on around me when I’m out. Very informative post, thank you x

  3. This is precisely why I would like to learn self defence, it is so awful that she went through this but thank god she survived to tell the tale. Poor thing x

  4. These are great tips- I’ve been looking for a self defense class in my area since I’m traveling solo a lot this year and I always carry my phone with me on my runs.

  5. I did see this story and Kelly was so brave, I’m bad I always run with headphones in as the music motivates me and I tend to run at night, but I always try to stick to populated areas x

  6. How awful for her to go through this. I hate that people think that it is ok to do this kind of thing! I was raped in my own home on my 17th birthday and I just don’t get what makes men and women think that hurting another human being is ok? I’m so glad this woman is ok and I’m so glad that she is speaking out and I’m glad she did other wise others may not think of some of the tips you have wrote about x

  7. Oh my gosh how terrifying! I am so glad that those self defence lessons were taken, god knows what I would of done, but I am extremely happy that what was learnt was taken in and was able to fight off this horrid person! I run and run at the crack of dawn, I certainly will be leaving the headphones in the house

  8. Wow!!! Thank you for bringing this to light and providing us with the reminder. I don’t know what I would have done. I would hope instincts would kick in. The tips you have are great and I will share them with friends and especially my daughter.

    No one deserves to be attacked. That guy is pond scum, and I admire Kelly’s bravery and ass-kicking skills!!

  9. I’d never really thought about safety when running (or jogging as I do) – thanks for the tips, they’re helpful x

  10. Thank you for highlighting this important issue when it comes to running. I use to live in the middle of nowhere (farmland) and I use to be really scared running on my own. xx

  11. How terrifying for her!! Thanks so much for the great safety tips! It’s so important to be aware of your surroundings. No run is worth risking your life. ❤

  12. Just 2 miles from where I live a woman was attacked while running alone alone a canel. this happened just a few weeks ago and they are still looking for her attacker. It’s so scary to think there are people out there capable of such things. I would never go out alone and would always make sure i took my phone with me.

  13. Thanks for this safety tips. We really have to make some safety measures in order to have ourselves feel secure everytime we go out especially when we are alone. Better be safe than sorry.

  14. Wow, this really makes you think! Horrible that someone has to go through something like that on a casual run!

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