A Running PSA

This morning, I went for a run.

Now, if you’ve read this blog, well…ever – then you know that this is not unusual for me to do. But upon more careful observation, itreally was kind of unusual. See, today is a Tuesday – my regular run days are M,W,Th,S and Su – but since I am running a 10K Saturday and moving my 20 mile run to Friday, the whole schedule is readjusted. But, I digress.

Anyway, I popped up and out of my bed at 5:29 AM, ready to run – and a full minute before my alarm went off. I did the regular readying routine and was out in the crisp air by about 5:30ish. I had 6 on the schedule today, with 5 hill pickups, so I took a roundabout route that would take me through some hills a little after 1/3 of the way through the run.

As I descended down a gradual slope and up over a bridge, I saw something in the distance. Something moving. I couldn’t tell if it was headed toward or from me. In about 2 minutes, I realized what it was…


A three-headed shadowy monster.

The monster had six legs, moved from sidewalk to street and was cloaked in darkness. I kept my distance until my pace forced me to find a safe way around it – and when I did, it didn’t even seem to notice.

I ran a loop past the monster and back through a well-lit area when it reared its ugly head(s) again. It had slowed down a bit, and now was creating a wide barricade, so I put on my polite but firm voice:

“Excuse me! On your left!”

It made some sounds, but did not respond.

“Excuse me! Coming by on your left!”

Still, no movement or reply. Last try:

“Excuse me! Passing on your left!”

Finally, one of the heads acknowledged my presence and mumbled something to the other heads. I set off, with a strange feeling, forming in the pit of my stomach.

See, I am sure you figured out that it wasn’t actually a monster. It was three young women running in the dark with no reflective gear, only one headlight (that I could see) and not a great sense of awareness of their surroundings.

These ladies were running – literally and figuratively- in the dark. It made me really upset to see them not only running in the road without safety gear, but also dominating the sidewalk in a blockade-style formation. I felt compelled to stop and share some links with them, like my running in the dark post, point them toward my editor Kevin’s tips for night-running tech– but to be quite honest, I was in much too shock to even collect my thoughts this morning.

The only positive thing I can muster about the situation was that they were, in fact, together. If something were to happen, they’d have back up…but the way they were running, it only seemed like “something bad happening” was a matter of when, not if.

So, to those runners of Rio Road and Route 29 this dark morning – please heed my advice – it doesn’t take much! Let’s all run safely, together!

How do you stay safe on your runs?

38 thoughts on “A Running PSA

  1. That’s both terrifying for you… and for them! Smart running people, smart running! I’ve got a reflective vest now, thanks to Ragnar, and am investing in a headlamp shortly. Winter training makes that necessary! Thanks for your PSA! πŸ™‚ #sweatpink love.

    • Thanks for your comment, Megan! Hope we can spread this safety message to more and more runners!!

  2. Sometimes you can’t do anything about just plain stupidity! I am a safety girl too, and wear my reflective vest, blinking light and get off the road when vehicles are approaching. I’d rather be alive and look like a dork! πŸ™‚

    • Pam – so agree. Looking dorky > being alive! I need to get a few blinky lights too. Maybe I can decorate myself for Christmas, lol!!

  3. There is this group of walkers in my neighborhood and not one of them wears a single piece of reflective anything. In fact, they are always all dressed in black. Why???? My running buddy made a comment about it just this morning in fact as we zip by with blinking lights, reflective clothing and even a reflective arm band (me). I don’t think people realize that they just aren’t visible.

  4. Wow…I have a handheld light, a rear red-blinky clip on, and some reflective bands for my wrists/arms. I too see those people running without ANYTHING! Where I live, there are no street lights either, and I have literally almost run into them before seeing them. Since the total cost for my lights and reflectors was <$25, I don't think people without them really have any excuse.

  5. Love this post. This is exactly why I don’t run at night. I a) want to get all my safety gear and b) I am terrified someone will not see me and mow me down. (I guess once a) happens, the chances of b) happening are low). But I am kind of appalled that they seemed to be so rude!

    • Thanks for commenting! And yes, the worst part to me was the fact that they seemed very oblivious!

  6. Oh wow!!! That’s really scary! They definitely need educated in road safety!!! I have seen a bike rider like that once before and it scared me half to death!! We def need to get the awareness out there! Happy Tuesday! Spa love!

    • Good point, Jenna! Cyclists need to be seen even more so, on account of how fast they can go!

  7. I have a hat with lights in the brim and my clothes have a little bit of reflective “stuff”, but I know I’m not nearly visible enough. I try to avoid going out by myself when it is really dark as much as possible though – usually sticking to the treadmill for pre-dawn runs.

    • I’d recommend a lightweight vest – that’s what I use! My Road Noise vest also has a pocket for my iPhone and built in speakers (I listen to podcasts) which is awesome πŸ™‚

  8. Do you run with a headlamp? i haven’t done much dark running, but it’s starting to get dark pretty early, and it’s still dark when I wake up, so if I want to run, I need to be prepared!

    • Yes, I do! πŸ™‚ I have a bright one from Eddie Bauer (more like a camping one, but has lots of settings) as well as a New Balance hat with LEDS in it! I am going to purchase some blinky lights now too, after reading around πŸ™‚

  9. I live near Heather and everything is pretty well lit. I usually wear neon when running at night. I should probably get some reflective gear. I know, FAIL! I ALWAYS run with my iPhone. And put my iPhone in my Nathan Hydration belt and blast my music. I do not wear headphones when running outside. Yes, I blast my music outloud. Even the music with the curse words. In September, I was doing an early morning 6-mile training run. Around mile 3, I was looping back around and saw a heating/AC white van, which was not unusual because I was in a commercial business area surrounding the residential area. It was a Saturday so I just thought that they were doing service in the buildings. Then the van circled back around again. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see it in the lane closest to me (I was on the sidewalk running). It freaked me out a little so I ran across the intersection, over the center divider and continued that way, then it made a u-turn, I crossed the intersection again…I went another mile, the van came back again, so I crossed the intersection again…and when I finally got across, I called my local police department. I explained the situation and they sent some units. I think 4 police cars finally scared Mr. White Van away. What should have been a 1 hour run turned into an almost 2 hr event with the police etc. I am very vigilant in checking out my surroundings. Plus, I got hit in the back of the legs recently by an idiot on a beach cruiser riding on the sidewalk in my neighborhood not paying attention…and oh the dogs, people keep your dogs on a shorter leash!!!

    • OMG wow, Julie. I am so sorry you had to deal with this, but I do thank you for sharing this important message about remaining vigilant at all times! So glad you were okay.

  10. I am scared if I am out running and the sun is not totally up and I am not in reflective gear. I don’t know why people don’t think. And I HATE when people hog the path. UGH!

  11. I am guilty of not running with the proper gear. I know, I know….I need to change this. I actually had a moment where I almost got hit by a car a few months ago, and it terrified me. After this I got a little light for my arm, which I have since misplaced.

    Thank you for writing this post! It reminds me of the importance of reflective gear and being more careful while running in the dark πŸ™‚

  12. I need to show this post to my friend Ellie. She is our safety monitor. We always run early mornings, which means it’s often dark. Most of us have headlamps and we run on suburban roads facing traffic, so I feel pretty good about that. But Ellie keeps us in line should we do anything dumb!

  13. I used to think ppl made fun of me in my reflective fear…but I didn’t care. I am being safe! πŸ™‚

    • It is scary! Especially when you consider that most runners also drive, so wouldn’t they want to see obstacles too?????

  14. I really want to run in the morning, but I’m more scared about becoming a statistic than getting hit! Too much “criminal minds”!

    • Better safe than sorry, right?! I am very lucky in that I feel quite safe in that sense running here, but we should always be vigilant of our surroundings πŸ™‚

  15. Wow, you would think wearing safety/reflective gear while running in the dark would be a no-brainer. Like you wrote, though, at least they were running together. Luckily, my schedule is flexible, so I can wait until it’s light to run outside. I always bring my phone with me, though.

    • Yes! I have my phone with me about 90 percent of the time, too! Thanks for commenting, Carrie!!

    • Thanks for the link, Danielle! I personally use RoadID but we should all have back up plans like these for sure!!!

  16. I’m so effing tired of these types of runners. I’ve had it this early fall with them.

    Headlamps are the key. A lot of reflective gear isn’t good enough to be seen soon enough, but it’s at least good to wear it.

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