Keep safe when running
- Try to avoid running alone, especially before daybreak or after dark.
- Run in a group if possible.
- Run in areas that are populated and well-lighted when possible.
- Be aware of cars and other pedestrians entering the area where you’re running.
- Use just one headphone if running with a phone.
- Let someone know your route and estimated time of return.
After training for the Chicago Marathon last year, LeAnne Gilleland decided to purchase a handgun and a permit to protect herself.
“In order to get the distance in, a girlfriend and I started training very early in the morning before daybreak,” she said. “We had a couple of situations where cars would drive by and stop, turn around and drive back by. Just really led us to a position of being slightly uncomfortable.”
The gun stays in a fanny pack, a last resort she said she hopes she doesn’t have to take. Gilleland said she usually only takes it when running alone.
“It does add a little bit of weight to me and a little bulk, so I definitely prefer not to have it,” she said. “But in those situations, I feel more comfortable with it.”
She and fellow runner Liz Isandoro, both of Gainesville, frequent the Riverside neighborhood and the areas around Brenau University. Both often run with groups, and Gilleland said running alone sometimes comes from scheduling conflicts.
“For the most part, I feel very comfortable and confident jogging in this town alone. I never run after dark or before daybreak alone, and if I do, I would certainly carry the handgun,” Gilleland said.
Because of the group setting, Isandoro said she does not carry protection, which is commonly mace for female runners.
“I prefer never to run alone because I don’t enjoy running alone. ... I usually run with a group of three or four people,” she said. “I feel like there’s definitely safety in numbers.”
Isandoro said she has faced the road rage and anger of drivers on the road, who have thrown ink pens, trash and other objects at her.
“You’d be shocked at how ugly people can be to runners,” she said.
For other runners, both suggest a keen awareness of other cars and pedestrians entering your area. Gilleland suggested having just one headphone in if running with a phone.
“Get a pulse on their demeanor, kind of what they’re doing. Really just take a good look at them,” Gilleland said.
Isandoro also suggested having a person know your route and your estimated time of return
“You definitely don’t want your absence to not be noticed for hours,” she said.