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This week from January 21st to the 26th, 2020 has been coined "Runner Safety Awareness Week" by The Run Collective.
The Run Collective, a non-profit organization that connects, collaborates, and celebrates the running community, uses this week to promote and spread awareness for runners' safety through a series of talks, workshops, discussions, and even group runs.
In honor of this important week, Defender Ring would like to help spread awareness for runners' safety by highlighting scary runner safety statistics and providing some key safety tips for runners.
Runner Safety Awareness Events
If you have free time, check out The Run Collective online, or show up to one of their events such as:
- Self-defense workshops led and taught by martial arts schools and experts
- Discussions regarding solutions to harassment and violence for the running community, led by representatives from the NYC Mayor's Office and Center for Anti-Violence Education
- Conversations and discussions with NotToday founder Kelly Herron
- Group runs to raise awareness and promote runner safety
Scary Runner Safety Statistics
Female runners out there understand the gravity of the situation when they go out for a run alone. Here are some staggering statistics from a survey done by Runner's World regarding runners' safety:
43% of women at least sometimes experience harassment on a run
Almost half of all women experience harassment on a run sometimes. How often does harassment occur? This should give you a good idea. It occurs every day women are running.
30% of women runners have been followed by a person in a vehicle, on a bike, or on foot
3 out of every 10 female runners are followed by a person while out for a run. That means every time you pass 3 female runners at a park, chances are that one of them has been followed by a person while running before.
Only 4% of men at least sometimes experience harassment on a run
In comparison, only 1 in every 25 men experience harassment on a run sometimes. Since men don't experience this issue first hand, some men might not realize the magnitude of it.
58% of women under 30 report they are harassed during a run
Younger women are targeted more than older women. This can be attributed to several reasons such as looking more vulnerable or not having the experience and mentality to avoid dangerous situations.
18% of women have been propositioned on a run
This means almost 1 out of every 5 women on a run have had sexual advances made toward her.
73% of female runners run with a phone due to safety concerns
A rare time to encourage our younger generation (and older generation) to bring cell phones with them. There are several safety apps for iPhone and Android that perform functions such as GPS tracking, alerting authorities, and even playing loud noises and flashing lights to scare away a potential aggressor.
60% of female runners limit their runs to daylight hours now due to safety concerns
Unfortunately we've come to the point in society, where we'd recommend only running during daylight hours for safety concerns.
During the winter in New York City, the sun doesn't rise until after 7 am, so this means many people wouldn't have time to run in daylight hours before work.
Luckily during the summer in New York City, the sun will rise at its earliest around 5:30 am, and will give morning runners a chance to run in the sun before work.
52% of female runners have changed running routes due to safety concerns
Adapting our schedules and lives is sometimes the smartest thing to do, and more than half of all female runners have changed their running routes due to safety concerns. It's very encouraging that female runners are vigilant of their environment and proactively change their routes.
23% of women state that they've exercised at the gym instead of outdoors to avoid being harassed
Almost 1 out of every 4 women have favored a gym workout as opposed to a natural outdoor workout to avoid being harassed.
21% of women carry pepper spray at least sometimes
1 out of every 5 female runners carry pepper spray at least sometimes. We encourage all women to arm themselves with self defense weapons to stay safe and protected. Other weapons may not burden the runner as much as pepper spray, which must be carried and holstered when not in use. Other self defense weapons for runners include stun guns, knives, and our own self defense ring, Defender Ring.
Runner Safety Tips
1. Run on Familiar Paths
Always run on streets, paths, routes, and parks that you're familiar with and have ran before. If you want to explore new paths and venture out, make sure to do so under favorable conditions; with a friend or running group, or at the very least on a weekend day when the sun is out so more people will be around.
2. Carry a Self Defense Product
All runners, especially female, should carry a self defense product with them to go running. Whether you prefer a self defense ring or a stun gun doesn't particularly matter, as long as you're armed in some way that will give you a greater chance of fending off an aggressor.
3. Carry Your Phone with a GPS or Self Defense App
Purchase a waist belt or arm band to hold your phone while you run and use a GPS tracking app or a specific self defense app.
4. Be Vigilant of Your Surroundings
Always be aware of your surroundings and periodically look over your shoulder. If you have headphones in, you'll have to be even more vigilant. Attackers come in all shapes and sizes. Don't cross paths or get too close to individuals who may pose a threat. Always err on the side of caution, especially when you're in unfavorable circumstances.