When I arrived at school today for an early meeting, I found my usual seat with the usual teachers. One woman looked a bit distracted even for the early hour, so I asked if she was okay. She proceeded to tell me that her adult son’s friend was killed in a hit and run last night. We talked until the meeting started about that loss for her son and the cowardice of someone who leaves the scene. I didn’t realize until I read the news online later that the hit and run accident involved a vehicle and a runner.
The 28-year old man was running along a road after dark. By the end of the day, the driver who fled the scene had been arrested. That’s good, I suppose, but it doesn’t bring that runner back to his family.
This made me think about my own family. All of us are runners. We run trails and streets. We run in big cities, small towns and races. We run alone and with training partners. We run when the sun in shining, but we also run when it’s dark.
How safe are we? What do we need to do to make sure that we all come home from our runs?
- LIGHT UP! If we run before sunrise or after the sun goes down, we need to be seen. That means lights, reflective gear and bright colors.
- BE ALERT! Pay close attention when passing driveways and intersections. Look at the vehicles that may be pulling out as well as those that may want to turn into the area.
- TURN IT DOWN! I’m fine with earbuds–I use them all the time. There’s an important rule with earbuds. The volume cannot be so loud that you can’t hear the sounds around you. Consider using only one earbud. No playlist or audio book is worth your life!
- GO AGAINST THE TRAFFIC! It seems like we should all know this one, but I still see runners on the wrong side of the street.
- ROAD ID! Wear some kind of identification. I bought everyone in our family ROAD ID bracelets for their Christmas stockings last year. There are lots of fun styles and colors for ID wear.
- CARRY YOUR CELL!! My husband hates to have his cell with him when he runs, which drives me crazy! When he goes for long training runs, I’m always glad to see him walk back in the door. Take the cell–your family will love you for it! You may even need it someday!
- TRUST YOUR GUT! If something seems weird as you are running, it probably is weird! For example, I had a car drive by waaaaay too slowly and come back around again. I knew it was time to head home (which leads me to the next one…).
- STICK AROUND PEOPLE AND PLACES! Avoid areas that are deserted. If you have one of those cars following you, it’s important to be able to get to a safe place.
- SHARE YOUR ROUTE! Let your family or friends know where you plan to run and how long you should be gone. There are also apps that can be used to track you on the run.
- POLICE AND SAFETY DEVICES! Consider carrying a safety device, such as mace or a noisemaker. And, remember that the police are always a phone call away—you will have that cell phone with you, right?
Here’s to enjoying life on the run…safely!