By Fred Deckert
Running hazards come in a number of forms. There are always dogs, which can definitely ruin your day by sampling your fast and slow twitch muscles. We learn to avoid routes where they present a difficulty, but there are always nasty surprises to be found. Personally most of the dogs I’ve found have been friendly, but that has it’s own hazards when Rover wants to come along and gets tangled up in your legs.
Then there are self-inflicted problems. In my opinion running with headsets is one of these. I’ve had arguments with the headset lovers claiming they can hear outside noises just fine and it’s no problem. My experiments show me that while I can still hear, my wife has to shout to get my attention and communicate properly. I feel strongly that even if you lose a few percent of the awareness of your surroundings you are at risk. Prime among those risks are the guys that prey on females running alone. Ladies, this is not the kind of heavy breathing you want to miss hearing! I’ve also had close escapes from bikes, luckily I heard them coming from the whir of the wheels, something I doubt you catch wearing headsets.
Realizing that most of us must run sharing the roadways should make us doubly cautious of those hazards involved. I’ve never heard of a car-pedestrian confrontation that the pedestrian won. Now that we have those shorter days to contend with and more running in the dark or dusk, we need to remember to run facing traffic and to wear light colored, and/or reflective garments to alert the automobiles. I find a very inexpensive battery operated flasher clipped to my waistband to be a great enhancement to my security (found at Home Depot). Your ears are valuable in hearing an auto coming around a blind curve toward you.
If you are one of the lucky ones who can run on trails regularly, be aware that while the auto problem doesn’t exist, bikes also share those trails and roots and holes can unexpectedly have you tasting mother earth. So, when possible it’s good to run with a group. John Kalin is one of our most active trail runners and guides, who leads trail runs, especially during weekends. John can be reached at 212-5680. Most of these trails were developed by Capital City Cyclists and John Harvey.