Whether you run competitively or as a hobby, you’ll probably be heading outdoors more often as the weather warms up. But do you know the rules of the road?
Crime Prevention Officer Paul Rondeau of the Manchester Police Department is hosting a clinic on runner safety, encouraged to do so by his wife, an avid runner.
“My job is to educate the public on how to stay safe,” said Rondeau. “Essentially, people who run spend a huge amount of time outdoors in the public, and sometimes in areas where they aren’t comfortable — you know, going out on long runs, new routes.”
During the clinic Rondeau will talk about the rules of the road for runners and for motorists, clothing and safety accessories for runners, safety tools, destination races, Facebook and Twitter and some general safety tips.
“People often do things that they don’t know affect their safety — like with posting on social media, you need to make sure it’s private and no one is monitoring it,” Rondeau said. “It’s little things like that. If you post on Facebook or Twitter that you’re going out for a run, they’ll know your house is empty.”
Rondeau said that one of the most common problems with runners is that they often run through intersections, or that they are not as visible as they should be to motorists.
“People don’t always see [runners],” Rondeau said. “We’re going to talk about runners’ responsibilities and what they should wear. According to the Manchester city ordinance, you are required to wear reflective gear at night, which many people don’t actually know.”
Runner’s Alley, which is sponsoring the event, will be at the clinic with clothing and safety accessories for runners to check out. Christina Dow, a nationally ranked kickboxer from The Training Station, will also be there to teach runners some basic self-defense techniques.
“She will be demonstrating techniques to escape attackers and tools that runners can carry with them to protect themselves,” Rondeau said. “She’ll teach basic escape techniques to prevent an attacker from trying to get ahold of you and to put distance between the victim and the attacker.”
Rondeau said that runners should remember that attackers do not want you to bring attention to them, which is why he said it can be important to wear an armband with an alarm on it.
Rondeau also said that if you run in groups or with a partner and there’s no sidewalk, it’s important to run in a single file line instead of directly next to each other.
Other topics at the clinic will involve wearing headphones or carrying pepper spray with you — and why it might not be as good as you think.
“I would say the number one safety tip is to be aware of your surroundings at all times,” said Rondeau.
There are still some open seats for the clinic. Interested runners should contact Rondeau to register.
“Runners are everywhere, and it’s important that they feel safe, and we empower them to go out there and run with confidence and feel safe doing so,” Rondeau said. “It’s important to do a clinic like this to educate runners on their rights and what’s expected of them and what’s expected of motorists.”
As seen in the April 24, 2014 issue of the Hippo.