I was recently made aware of runners being mugged by people in cars that would pull up next to you and congratulate you for your efforts with slaps. I was disturbed by this and thought I might add a voice to the safety concerns of runners so here it is:
Ditch the headsets 🎧
You need to be aware of your environment and alert to threats so you can react accordingly. If you want to run with headsets do so on a treadmill and nowhere else.
Leave your phone 📱
Tell the people you live with your route and expected return time in case of anything. This advice applies for anything else of value such as jewelry, watches, and any other fancy gadgets and accessories. Run lean before you start looking like food to hungry people.
Carry something portable
You might want to consider carrying something portable that might help you defend yourself in scary situations. If attacked, respond in kind.
Wear a reflector jacket
If you’d rather not because it cramps your style opt for brightly colored clothing 🟨🟩🟧 instead to make yourself visible. I don’t understand runners that leave their house dressed like Batman. You’re effectively camouflaged with the tarmac. Don’t risk becoming roadkill for an outfit.
Run in groups 🏃🏿♂️🏃🏿♂️🏃🏿♂️🏃🏿♂️🏃🏿♂️
Group sessions are a strong deterrent for theft so where possible you might want to consider partnering up with running groups like the Lusaka Fitness Squad or a couple of your buddies to discourage potential thieves.
Trust your instincts 🧐😶🌫️
If an individual or group of people make you uncomfortable out on your runs INCREASE the social distance. I share my experience trusting my gut here, and I believe it saved me from a trip back home naked.
Don’t run in isolated areas and during dark times (early morning, evening or late at night)
This makes you a mark and easy pickings for opportunistic theft. Try to identify well lit places to run in if you can’t run later in the morning when it’s brighter or earlier in evening before it gets dark due to time constraints. We have a couple places with solar street lights so that can help the situation. You should also identify places where there’s activity.
Don’t run in residential areas unless you know the area well
The reason for this is simple: dogs 🐕. Losing weight from your rear end doesn’t have to be a painful process. Read about my experience with dogs here.