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Aug 24, 2021

Let’s Stay Safe in These Streets!

I’m a big scaredy-cat, a chicken, a Nervous Nelly; I jump at the slightest bump in the night. I also love watching horror flicks. I will ride the tallest and fastest rollercoasters with the steepest drop. And I will navigate a jumble of sharp rock and use a rope to maneuver up a mountain during a hike, as I did during my hiking trip last month in the Pacific Northwest but running alone before sunrise or late at night scares the bejesus out of me. Too many of those scary movies, I suppose.

Safety is of utmost importance to me when running or hiking with one person or a group.  In my last BGR blog post, I talk about how much money I’ve spent this year alone on running gear. Well, I left out all the safety items I’ve purchased. In addition to the new clothes, shoes, and accessories, I bought a lighted vest, a wool hat with an LED light on the front, and a handheld pepper-spraying device.

When I run solo, I wear bright clothes with no hanging strings or frills, so there’s nothing for anyone to grab and pull me down. I used to listen to music during my runs, but not anymore, no matter how low the volume. I was too busy jamming to the music, which made me less alert and less aware of my surroundings.

I live in the NYC metro area, and headlines about women being attacked have been steady in the news cycle lately. Recently, at a NYC park, the same predator attacked three different women within one hour last month. It caused the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up. It was only a matter of a few days before the suspect was caught, but only after he performed a lewd act and exposed himself at a NYC day spa.

In a 2019 Twitter thread, women shared everything they take with them to feel safe on their runs – everything from their dogs to a knife – a knife!

Hearing stories like these are both heartbreaking and infuriating and make me want to stay home and run around in the confines of my condo. But I know succumbing to fear is not healthy. While I live in a low-crime neighborhood, I can take all the safety precautions in the world and still become a victim.

Here are a few personal safety tips to help you feel safe on your walk/run:

  1. Carry your smartphone. It’s the best safety tool you already own.
  2. Invest in a wearable ID.
  3. Be visible. Wear bright colors or reflective clothing.
  4. Run with a friend or run crew.
  5. Switch up your route often.
  6. Avoid using in-ear headphones.
  7. If your hair is long, put it up.
  8. Share your route with a friend or family member.

You can’t avoid risk, but you can avert it. Trust your intuition, make conscious decisions, and for goodness sakes, don’t watch scary movies! See you out on the pavement!

By: Danielle Barnes – @dannibsays (IG) @dannib413 (Twitter)

Danielle Barnes is a freelance writer based in Montclair, NJ. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from Wayne State University. Her superpower is her ability to captivate audiences with her words whether it’s in person or on paper. Danielle enjoys devouring a good book, volunteering for causes she’s passionate about, staying active, and traveling the globe to see the world in all its glory.