10 foolproof safety measures every runner should follow

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Saturday, 31 October 2015 622 Views 0 Comments
10 foolproof safety measures every runner should follow

By Kiran Mehta

Running brings with it a sense of freedom. Yet ironically, running still leaves women vulnerable to predators. But no more running scared. With these simple tips, it’s possible to run smart and run safe.

  1. Let there be light – It can be tempting to run when the parks are empty, especially if you live in overpopulated urban India. But ask yourself if it’s worth it. Runner Sunita Sikhri (name changed) was attacked in the wee hours of the morning. ‘I used run at 5 am, thinking I’d beat the human traffic at the park adjacent to my flat. But unfortunately, one dark morning, I was verbally assaulted by a bunch of rag pickers. There was no one around to come to my aid, and they soon began to run toward me. I only escaped because I was able to out-run them.’ Ever since, she either runs with a friend or waits for day-light.
  2. Run with your buddies – Safety lies in numbers. It’s a lot more difficult to stave off two, than it is to over-power one. If you can’t find a buddy, join a running club.
  3. Use your senses – Ladies, running safety doesn’t go well with being coy. Look around you; be aware of those a few metres ahead or behind you. If you hear someone catching up, turn around. An attacker is more likely to strike if he thinks he’s caught you off guard.
  4. Unplug – Few things beat the feeling of wind in your hair while running to the tune of your favourite numbers. But headphones make you vulnerable – you won’t hear the honking cars, or the shuffling of feet as someone sneaks up behind you. If you still crave music, choose the treadmill.
  5. Be seen – If you’re running with a buddy before day-break (Refer point 2), make sure you’re seen with reflective clothing. Also, those glowing shoes, or psychedelic tees look pretty damn hot.
  6. Road rules – Roads weren’t made for running. But in our cities where footpaths are broken or dug up, the runner often takes to the roads. Stepping down comes with the risk of being run over. Use common sense to stay safe(r) – run against traffic, close to the foot-path, while wearing reflective clothing.
  7. Be unpredictable – Running the same route is boring. If you’ve got a secret admirer/attacker, it makes things easier for him. Change your route and you’ve got the upper hand.
  8. App for those laps – There are apps that measure the exact number of steps you’ve taken, calories burned, and also chastise you for bingeing post a run. For women, there are apps that let your friends track your location, and at a press of a button, they can be alerted if you’re in danger.
  9. Who let the dogs out – Another urban Indian issue is that of being chased by stray dogs. Don’t try to out-run the dog; you won’t win. Instead, slow down, and start walking. The dog will probably slow down too, and walk behind you. Don’t look him/her directly in the eye as this is viewed as a threat. Chances are, he/she will sniff you and go away. If you do get bitten, you’ll need anti-rabies shots and a tetanus shot.
  10. Identify yourself – Common sense is pretty uncommon. We all know those runners who don’t want to be burdened with as much as a slip of paper. Carrying I.D. is a no brainer. You may think you’re invincible, but accidents happen. With identification, your near-and-dear ones can be reached immediately.

When you’re attacked : Despite your best efforts, you may find your safety compromised. Don’t go quietly. Scream, punch, kick, bite. Fight back. An attacker usually has a plan – to carry you off behind the bushes or to a remote area. By putting up resistance, his best laid plans can go awry.

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