A female jogger was sexually assaulted in Rock Creek Park around 7am yesterday. Scary stuff...be careful out there!
oh no, that is just awful. I know people are going to say that Rock Creek is still safe, but that park is big, dark, and heavily wooded. Buddy up!!
Ah, this explains the motorcycle cop who kept patrolling that section this morning. I'm not sure how to react - should I be glad I read this after my long run this morning or horrified that I was unknowingly running the same path at the same time 24 hours later? (PS This section is heavily trafficked and traveled by cars/bikers/joggers - normally a criterion I use to determine the level of safety of a running path.)
The really sad thing is that nearly every one of these assaults -- including the one on Chandra Levy -- involves women who are jogging alone wearing headphones. They found Chandra's with her bones. So sad! So unnecessary! Road Runners Club of America lists this as the most dangerous thing a woman can do, yet we see hundreds of women doing this all over the DC area every day. If you ask any of them, they will tell you some story about how the area is safe or they've done it a million times before. If you ask me, all the companies that pitch these devices to runners should be required to package them with HUGE notices that say: IT IS DANGEROUS TO RUN OR JOG OR WALK IN ANY PUBLIC PLACE WEARING HEADPHONES. Some of you may recall the wife of the former USAT president who was killed by a hit-and-run driver early in the morning. She was pushing a baby jogger and the driver left the injured 8-month old dangling upside down in the jogger after killing her mother. The mom had no ID on her but she was listening to her headphones. Ladies: please leave your headphones home! Stay safe. (Sorry to rant).
Okay, so let's turn this into a productive thread:
Girls (and guys, but let's face it - women are more vulnerable): Besides running and/or biking with others, what do you do to keep yourself safe? (and let's just offer suggestions, not judgments about others' practices because the headphone debate could go on for years - runnersworld.com just had a blog debate about this too.)
I'll start: I run with Road ID on my shoe. I bike with my wallet. I run AND bike with my cell phone, which lists all my emergency contacts and medical info. I would run with at least one of my dogs if they were young/healthy enough but sadly that's not the case anymore.
Does anyone run with a whistle? I've heard this might be helpful if you do get attacked because the noise could scare off your attacker.
Road id is a plus and DC tri members get a discount. And I never wear headphones outside of the gym. I know everyone is different on this one but I have just always done it - I knew someone in college who was assaulted running. I would also recommend carrying your insurance card while biking. And it never hurts to let someone know where you are going/or when you might be expected to return. Not always possible but when you can, it's a good idea.
Wow. Thanks for posting this. I'll be doing a long run super early tomorrow in VA...I'll leave the headphones at home even though that pains me...I know it is safer but I love them so much....I have gotten a little scared at times when it's pre-dawn and I'm out alone but figure VA is probably safer than DC.
I have a whistle in my purse, I have always been told that is a must...bringing it on a run is a good idea!
I too would love to hear other thoughts on things to do in the early morning hours to stay safe.
I try to run in groups as much as possible... and never, ever wear headphones due to my hearing problems and safety.
Speaking of which, starting in Sept, after IM Louisville is done, I'd love to gather a group of slower runners to run on the off-road trails in RCP. I would like to run a trail ultra in the spring, and need to start training.
Any takers for a 11-12 min/mile pace on trails some saturday or sunday am? I'd ideally start with 4-5 miles, and slowly ramp up in speed and distance.
Kind of an odd segue, but yup - I'd definitely be interested. I'm slow (training for my 1st marathon), and bought trail shoes last weekend because I want to start trail running.
Having trouble finding good routes though...
jgeldner at gmail dot com
If you prefer to have headphones, you can always just put one earphone in one ear and leave the other out. You still get the music (though not in stereo) and you can still be observant of your surroundings.
I've done this for long bike rides when I'm on my own, and I still hear cars approaching and can move out of the way. The trick is to not get lost in your music and still be aware and observant of the sounds around you.
So am I the only aggressive, armed-and-dangerous one in the group? I responsed to the last posting about the girl who was flashed and grabbed recently....
Pepper spray...it's legal in Virginia and Maryland, comes in a small canister you can clip to your shorts.
It has stopped many an off-leash pitbull where I cycle on the Eastern Shore (they don't seem to follow leash laws over there), and was probably responsible for me averting a wreck, hurting not only myself, my bike, but the dog as well.
It causes no permanent damage, but will stop an attacker or animal in their tracks.
I've had police officer friends recommend this...now that I'm used to running with it, I feel vulnerable if I don't have it with me.
You can order it online - especially women - we're never going to be strong enough to fight off an attacker.
I've run on some sketchy trails...I once had a group of young men approach me - I took the canister off my hip and held it...needless to say - they made a path for me.
Some would say that was over the top, but an attacker doesn't go after someone who is aware and looks like they could cause them problems.
Ditto on the "awareness" point with headphones...though I'm equally as guilty.
Don't feel bad. When I run dead early in Rock Creek park, I have my 2.5 inch pocket knife with me. 2.5 inches is not big, if you know how to use it, you can cause damage without death. Although I do not suggest that as a means of defense, because anything you bring in your defense, can be turn and utilized on you. Safety is an illusion that we place upon our surroundings. Nothing is truely safe, and you need to be vigilant of your surroundings at all times. There are sick people out there and they have no fear and no respect for themselves, others, or the laws we live by.
-Making as much noise as possible in a situation draws unwanted attention to your attacker. Scream, whistles, whatever you can do to make noise.
-Be aware of your surroundings, where are the frequently traveled areas, open areas, roads, ect. Just in case you need to make a rapid exit to these areas for safety.
-Run with a friend if at all possible. Power in numbers is always best.
My 2 cents. Please be as safe as you can out there. Don't give the enemy any help what so ever.
Okay, count me in as an armed-and-dangerous runner. Georgetown Running Company sells pepper spray for $15 (and they discount for DC Tri members). I got some this weekend and clipped it to my waist belt tonight in preparation for tomorrow's early morning run.
I also talked to some friends in law enforcement who were, of course, anti-headphones. They made a point I hadn't considered: even though I may have the volume turned low and can hear approaching footsteps, a perp doesn't know that. If s/he had to choose between a runner with headphones and a runner without, s/he'd obviously hedge bets and go for the headphone-wearer. It's the perception that you're zoned out on tunes that makes you a more likely target, regardless of whether you actually are. I think I'll still take them on midday runs through heavily populated areas but for dawn runs I'm leaving 'em at home and singing along with the voices in my head...