A few weeks back I was following a thread on Facebook asking women how comfortable they felt running trails alone and I was quite surprised by the number of woman who won’t, even in the middle of the day! Most citing the attack on Auckland woman, Jo Pert or coming across weirdos in general as the mitigating factor in their decision.
I on other think that you are better off running alone on trails than running along a road as you are less likely to encounter trouble (of the weirdo kind at least) because you’ll come across less people.
In fact I’d go so far as to state that you are actually safer when you trail run solo – not convinced?
Here’s 3 reasons why I think it’s safer to trail run alone.
You’re less likely to get distracted so you’ll be more observant of the things around you and the trail ahead.
Although there was that one time that I didn’t have James with me to take photos so I ran along a clifftop with my go pro held high and I nearly fell off the side .. but otherwise ..
You won’t have anyone pushing you to go faster than you are capable of or to lead you into situations you are not comfortable with.
You’ll be far more risk adverse because you won’t have any back up. You are also much more likely to turn around when you feel out of your depth than if you have someone with you.
That being said always follow the usual safety measures –
Let someone where you are going and let them know when you get back to your car.
Carry some form of communication. I always have my phone on me, but in areas where I won’t have coverage I’ll also carry a personal locator beacon (just in case).
Constantly scan your surroundings and keep your ears open. If someone is coming towards me I’ll always wave to let them know I can see them, (I figure murderers won’t wave back and at that point I can grab a huge rock) 😉 If I can hear someone is coming from behind, I’ll step to the side and let them pass (that way I can watch them approach and keep them in my line of sight as they pass).
One concession I do make when trail running solo is to steer clear of any new trails that are longer than a few kilometres during the week as I run in the afternoon and have less time before night falls (and I have a tendancy to get lost).
All in all I’d be more worried about falling off a cliff than encountering “dodgy people” and so far (touch wood) I’ve yet to do either.
Till next time