I'd like to start doing some trail running early in the morning before work. I love Rock Creek Park's trails, which are not too far from my house. But even with the time change, it's going to be dark at 6 when I'd need to be rolling.
Anyone run on the trails in RCP in the early morning before light? Should I be concerned about safety at that hour?
Wow, nobody? Perhaps not a good sign...
Like any other dark, secluded areas around DC its best to be aware of your surroundings at all times, leave the ipod/headphones at home, wear a light, and run FAST!
If you search this forum, I believed that you will find some news reports of women (not DCTri folks) who have been sexually or physically assaulted/harassed on that trail. It usually involves females who are out running on that trail alone. It is really really rare but it does happen. I have never heard of a man being assaulted or harassed though. It could be that men are not reporting such incidents due to whatever reasons.
There are a lot of cars that traversed along Beach Drive toward DC in the morning. It is a major commuting route. Real traffic starts around 7:00 AM but there are cars out there during the 6:00 AM hour. If you are to run, make sure that you are well lit or stay away from the road. There are portions where you can run on jogging paths parallel to Beach Drive.
There are homeless and certain criminal elements that use that park as their home. I've seen homeless folks sleeping in Rock Creek. I don't see them until I'm right on top of them since they are hidden underneath blankets and in the bushes to the sides of the paths. Chandra Levy was assaulted/killed by one of those criminal elements. There have been assaults before she was killed and there have been assaults after.
I wouldn't recommend any of my female friends or female family members run on that route alone during non-daylight hours. Obviously you are not a woman but take that for what its worth.
Thanks, guys---helpful advice.
I used to work for Texas Parks and Wildlife. Even during daylight hours, rough terrain would come up me quickly when trail running. At night (even with a headlamp), I don't know how many sprains I would have gotten.
Also, I would take into account animals, not just the homeless and with tree coverage cell coverage may be a little spotty.
I don't know if I would risk it.
i'm going to echo some of the advice already given.
i'm first going to assume you are an adult over the age of 18.
if so just use your common sense. you are old enough to make your own decisions and do what you want.
if you are not sure about the area, check it out first during well lit daylight hours and then later on check it out near twilight and see how the lighting is, basically do some scouting out of the area to get a general idea of what its like as it gets darker.
Again its your choice of what you do, none of us can help you there.
But remember, running in a dark or low lit area at times where there are not a lot of people about, and where there is a lot of seclusion is sometimes not the best idea. Doesn't mean it will always be dangerous, its just something you have to consider in any situation day or night.
Yes, I'm way over 18, for better or for worse.
I'm a 45-year-old former college rugby player turned triathlete, and I spent nearly 20 years in jobs that required good street sense. Enough to learn that it's always worth considering where you're going, and when, regardless of how tough or smart you think you are.
My go-to escape plan for trail running is speed---although at my age, perhaps that should more honestly be written as "speed." But I figure the adrenaline alone should take at least a minute and a half off my per-mile time. As long as I don't have to out-swim someone...!