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On the other hand, never forget safety.

If you've been running for cars without incident, it is easy to become complacent, especially if your community is relatively safe. But the worst assumption you can make is that bad things only happen to other runners. Terrible things, including rape, assault, and even murder, do happen, and runners can be vulnerable. Although there are no statistics for attacks on runners, more than once a minute a woman is raped--some of them are runners.

Although you should not run scared, or feel the need to use a treadmill all the time, be informed and prepared. A good exercise to run through regularly is "what would I do if...?" Take steps to make yourself a less likely victim. Prevention is mostly attitude and common sense. Attackers are looking for a target that won't give them trouble. Your job is to project the message that you would be a formidable force.

The best way to project toughness is to actually feel tough. The following list includes prevention tips that you can practice when you're running the roads or trails.

* Carry mace. Check with your local police department to make sure there aren't restrictions on mace in your area. Mace or pepper spray is not only an effective self-defense strategy, it helps you feel more secure.

* Make eye contact. When a man approaches a woman, the normal response is to look away or look down. This shows weakness and can mark you as a good victim. But don't let eye contact linger--that can be provocative.

* Don't wear headphones. An attacker knows you can't hear him coming. Tune in and be aware of everything around you.

* Don't run alone in the dark.

* Trust your instincts. This can be your most important self-defense tool. If something feels creepy and dangerous, respond to your inner voice and change direction.

* Run with a buddy, or even better, in a pack.

* Don't wear jewelry.

* Take a martial arts course. The cross training can be great and the self-defense skills you learn are a lifetime advantage.

You can avoid risky situations by just making wise choices. With the right planning, the joy of running should be unspoiled for a lifetime. (CN)
COPYRIGHT 1999 American Running & Fitness Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:crime prevention, safety for runners
Publication:Running & FitNews
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 1999
Words:362
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