Running Due to Fear of Wildlife or a Rough Neighbourhood?
Chances are good that if you’re a runner, at some point or another you’ve experienced that stomach dropping and heartbeat racing feeling of being in danger. Running in the city streets has it’s human dangers, and running in nature brings its own host of hazards with wild predators. Even if you drive your car straight from your house to the gym to jump on an indoor treadmill, there are still moments where you may be at risk (locking your car, walking across the street).
Many runners rely on their gut instincts and will simply change their running direction or cut a wide loop around any perceived danger. But there will still be times when as a runner you are ‘in the zone’ and focused on the run, or unavoidably vulnerable to an attack or mugging. A surprising amount of runners do carry a firearm while running, but there are many options for self defense. Whether you are looking to purchase a weapon to run with, or just curious as to what’s out there, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular weapons for self defense below (and a few everyday safety items).
Arguably the most serious form of self defense you can invest in, carrying a firearm while running is not often necessary. However, some solo runners find themselves needing real protection on longer runs in the wilderness to protect themselves against predators like cougars or bears, or when running in unavoidably risky urban areas. If you are considering running with a gun, you’re probably going to want an ‘inside-waistband’ or IWB holster. Runners claim an IWB is the most comfortable and easily accessible option for carrying a firearm while running. Pro tip: since the moisture from your sweat is going to drench your gun, be sure to wipe down your gun after each run, and consider putting a cloth barrier between the gun and your skin.
An old self-defense classic, and probably the most common. Most pepper sprays contain capsaicin, a derivative of hot chili peppers that is combined with ethanol and shot out of a handheld device to temporarily blind your opponent. Typically the stream will reach a distance of up to ten feet. Be sure to always spray away from you and downwind if possible to prevent it blowing back into your face.
Brass knuckles or ‘cat claws’
Most people will have heard of or seen brass knuckles in the movies – they are a simple, handheld device that reinforce your knuckles with metal for a punch that has a lot of destructive power. ‘Cat claws’ are a remake of the old classic by the company Tigerlady, with a couple of twists designed specifically for women: when threatened, you squeeze the device lightly and sharp ‘claws’ pop out to essentially weaponize your fist. They also feature a special strip underneath that is formulated to capture an attacker’s DNA.
With a serrated knife sharply jutting out from a ring you wear on your finger, this is one of the more visible self-defense options and may seem a little uncomfortable at first. However, the Go Guarded product is safer than having to reach into a backpack for a weapon, and as a ring it is more difficult for an attacker to knock out of your hands.
If you are truly and constantly worried about imminent danger on your solo runs, you can invest in a more serious form of self defense – a mini stun gun that can deliver millions of painful volts of energy to an attacker. At the very least, the ‘lightning strike and thunderclap’ of a warning shot should scare your attacker away. One of the benefits over pepper spray is that you can use your stun gun in almost any weather conditions.
If you’re not comfortable carrying a handheld device or simply prefer minimalism in running, there are the shoe spikes designed by Kuba-Kickz. They are placed underneath your shoelaces and above the tongue of your shoe, effortlessly turning your kick into a deadly one.
Of course, there are also the everyday safety items you can invest in to make your run a safer experience if a weapon is a bit much for you.
When running at night, it’s always a good idea to have a flashlight with a strong beam, preferably one that can be clipped to your belt or wrist.
A simple idea that can save lives. Wear an ID tag on your wrist or around your neck, with your name, an emergency contact, and any pertinent medical information.
Cheap and easy to throw on over your running clothes, a reflective vest will ensure you are visible to all traffic, especially on night or dawn runs.
There are several safety apps out there for runners, and they all have one thing in common: the app will give you the choice to ‘check in’ on your run, and if you don’t, an alert will be sent to your emergency contacts. On top of that, React Mobile Personal Safety App has an extra feature – when you go for a run, your family and friends can track you in real time. By sliding a bar across your phone, you can quickly change your status from ‘I’m Fine’ to ‘Please Follow Me’ if you are feeling threatened or just have a bad gut feeling. Another tap will change your status to ‘Help Me’ which will send an immediate request for help to local emergency services.
An innovative product by Doberman Security, this small alarm is attached to a band that you can wear around your wrist. At the first sign of danger, you simply push a button once that will set off a 110 decibel alarm along with a bright flashing light that can be seen from over a mile away.
One of the easiest and cheapest forms of self defense, your best bet is to wear your whistle on a chain or cord around your neck for easy access.