Do you run? If so, this post is for you. Whether you're a runner or not, it's important to have some self-defense tips in your back pocket.
Ready. Let's dive in.
Why are Runners Attacked?
Runners can be attacked for a wide range of reasons.
Firstly, let's be clear. The very act of running makes you a difficult target to attack.
So, there are only a few reasons why you could be attacked.
The first is sexual.
As a runner, you may be wearing less clothing than usual and this is sexually appealing to sex offenders. Of course, this isn't to say you shouldn't wear want you want. You should, but the reality is 'less clothing' or skin-tight clothing will always sexually arouse certain people.
This isn't the only driver for sex attacks on runners. The nature of running often means people are alone and as such can be attacked. And remember, not everyone running is fit.
A lot of people run to get fit, so, slow running doesn't always protect you as people think.
The second reason runners can be attacked is financial.
Runners often carry phones to listen to music, have expensive training shoes and clothes/ running kit.
These are targets for people who want to steal something for personal gain or to sell for money for secondary gains through drugs.
And the third reason people attack runners is for entertainment.
Gangs of idiots will shout abuse, punch or even trip runners up because they want to 'enjoy' themselves.
OK, with that covered let's look at how runners are attacked.
How People Attack Runners
As stated, technically speaking, runners are moving targets and so, should be harder to attack.
As such most attacks are either opportunistic or targeted.
In an opportunistic attack, a person would see a runner and strike them as they pass. This is the most common form of attack on runners, but also the easiest to avoid because it's usually a short-range act requiring little or no planning.
A targeted attack would be one where someone plans it in advance and either follows the runner, catches up with them or lays in wait.
In this type of attack, the runner would be on the receiving end of a much more violent and sustained attack, usually involving weapons.
Ok, let's look at some practical self-defence tips for runners.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
It's important for runners to be aware of their surroundings. They should know what the area is like, where they are and have a general knowledge of any potential dangers or threats that may occur in their neighborhood. This can help if they need to make an escape from someone who is following them.
If you know an area is known for trouble or anti-social behaviour, avoid it.
It makes no sense to run in areas where you might get into trouble.
Choose a Sensible Time To Run
It's also important not to run late at night or early morning. These are times when runners may be more likely to encounter someone who wants to harm them, so it is safer for people to avoid these hours altogether if they can help it.
Carry a Phone
Another way that a runner could protect themselves from danger is by carrying a phone. This is a precaution that many runners may not think about, but it can be an important step in the event of something bad happening.
It makes sense to carry a phone for loads of reasons. For example you might see someone else in trouble, have a road accident or even fall ill.
Also, you might get sick, injured or ill.
But above all else, if you are attacked, you can call the police straight away.
Carry a Personal Attack Alarm
This can be an important tool, especially for runners who are running alone and cannot rely on other people around them as protection. By carrying one of these with them they will have access to their own form of defense that could protect them at any time.
The noise that comes from these personal alarms is usually a very high-pitched and loud noise, which can be good for scaring off someone who might want to attack.
I recommend that runners either carry one of these or keep the sound on their phone in case they need it.
Carry an 'Emergency' Cash Fund
If runners are carrying an expensive phone they should also keep a small amount of emergency cash with them. This is because in the event that their possessions are stolen or taken from them, having some money on hand will ensure that they can get home in a taxi, or indeed make a phone call (if you can find a phone box).
Choose Your Route in Advance
Runners should plan their route in advance. This will help them to avoid any dangerous areas where they might get attacked and also means that they can be ready for anything that might happen on the way.
Avoid Large Groups of Youths
It's always a good idea for runners to avoid large groups of youths. This avoids the chance that they may be attacked by someone who is trying to distract them and steal their belongings in an opportunistic attack
If you see a group, try and go round it or find another route altogether.
Run in Well Lit Areas
It's best not to run in poorly lit areas because this increases the chance that you will be attacked. This is something that many runners forget, but it can make all the difference when trying to stay safe.
Tell Someone What Tine You'll Be Back Home and The Route You Are Going
This is a good idea for runners who are going to be out at night. It's important to let someone know what time they'll be back home and the route that they're taking so that people can help look out for them or provide assistance if needed.
In addition, it will prevent any worry from your family members when you disappear without contact with anyone else on their way back home.
Run in Numbers
It's also a good idea for runners to run in numbers. This isn't always possible but it is worth looking into if you can find someone else who wants to go on the same route as you.
This will help both of you stay safe and means that there are more people around, which could be useful if something were to happen while they're out running too.
It's also worth considering learning some self-defense. This is because it could be a good way to protect yourself if you are attacked.
You might enjoy our post on the best Martial Arts for self-defence if you are thinking of starting training.
It is important to remember that running can be a very dangerous endeavour for runners. This is why they need to take precautions before heading out on any run.
For those who are new at running and do not feel confident in their abilities yet, I recommend going with someone else or find an area where there will be other people around.
Running is great, but it can also make you a target for attack.
But follow these tips and you'll have no issues.