The days are closing in. If you’re a runner living in Canuck country, late-October days show clear signs of evenings and mornings being swallowed up. Morning time in fall usually starts with the alarm sounding before any natural light has had the chance to creep in through the window. Many of us are a.m. runners though, looking to knock the mileage off the to-do list before the rest of the day’s demands take over. If the early hours of the day are your time to sweat, you should be able to do so in peace without having to worry about hecklers interfering. If we had things our way, creeps would be banished. But as long as certain folks continue to interfere with the agendas of runners, we’ll continue to wrack our brains for the best ways to stay safe and run with confidence.
Past advice that we received from police about staying safe on the run includes being mindful of your body language. While out for that a.m. mileage, keep posture strong and confident (this is good for practicing proper form too). Know that making eye contact is a good thing – but don’t stare anyone down. Stay attentive while running especially in sparsely populated areas and, if runners think they’re being followed, one officer has advised doing a U-turn, and getting a good look at the individual for a police report.
The reflective gear investment is worth it.
Invest in reflective gear now and you’ll make good use of it through to April. The more reflective the vest, jacket, pants, etc. are, the more likely you’ll be spotted by drivers making a head-start on their commutes.
Take advantage of new technology.
We’ve all been told to bring a phone along with us during our daily miles. A new piece of tech that should be on the radars of avid runners though is Wearsafe – a wearable device linked to a user’s phone that alerts friends or family of emergency situations when unable to dial a call. Canadian Running blogger Jessica Kuepfer wrote about it not long ago. “I started wearing WearSafe because I love running whenever and wherever I want,” she said. “Running is my favourite way to explore a new place and since I occasionally travel alone for work or racing, I wanted to have peace of mind and still go on adventures. I love exploring new and remote areas, knowing that my friends and family will be alerted and able to help at any time.”
Don’t talk yourself out of filing a report.
Notice something suspicious? Is someone on your daily route persisting to make you uncomfortable? Don’t be shy about reporting this behaviour to the police. Many of us will brush off these situations or shy away from picking up the phone. Make the call, it’s their job to look into these situations and you’re likely not the only target.