Creepy running

I suppose most of this post is aimed at my fellow female runners, but I hope it’s of interest to all. I was reading Sean’s blog yesterday where he posted about his close encounters with all kinds of interesting (scary!) wildlife over his years of running. It got me to thinking about my runs and whether or not I’ve stumbled upon anything I’d rather not when on the road or trails.

As far as wildlife encounters, I haven’t had many. I’ve seen my share of black snakes here in Maryland. They can be long and creepy looking, but they’re harmless. I’ve also come fairly close to a coyote during a run in the Adirondacks. Luckily, he ran off after giving me a quick look over. Any time I ‘m running out West, I have my mountain lion and rattlesnake eyes open–I’m sure this is silly, but I am paranoid and think about both the whole time I am out there.

I think I’ve been pretty lucky as a runner when it comes to unhappy encounters of the human kind also. Several of my friends have told me stories about guys who have given them the creeps when running. A couple have actually had to run for safety to get away from potential offenders. I have to say I’ve never had anything like that happen, and I hope I never will.

I try to be careful about my running routes when running alone. I pretty much never run at night in the dark. I don’t wear an ipod. Both of those things hopefully make me a bit safer. The one area where I think I am negligent sometimes, however, is the rare run down a path in the woods by myself. I am pretty much on alert the whole time whenever I do this–that in and of itself tells me I probably shouldn’t be there.

What about you all–any bad encounters out there? Do you think you do all that you should to stay safe?

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  1. Genesis says

    i ALWAYS run in a populated area. we have trails that wind around behind abandoned building and railroad tracks, far away from the main road that I never run on. Its so easy for a creeper to hide in the abandoned building or bushes and attack me and no one would hear.

    I also make sure that there are other people on the trail with me if i scream, I know I will be heard.

    There hasnt been an incident in our area as far as I know, but I sure as heck dont want to be the first.

  2. Laura says

    I've never had any bad experiences but there are some areas where I turn my mp3 player off to be more aware and there are some routes that are good but I don't run without Mike coming with me. I also don't run in the dark and try to run at times when it will be busy but not so busy I have to people dodge all the way!

  3. Sarah says

    I don't run on wooded trails..only a paved one with other runners/walkers. I am always super alert. I have ended my run early before if the path is not crowded and there is someone that just doesn't look right…better safe than sorry.

  4. Sherri says

    When I was growing up we lived in Mesa, AZ and I had some scares with guys! But now I live in a small midwest town…and I think I am way to relaxed! Nothing has happened to me or anyone else that I know of…but I would not be ready if it did…so thanks for the reminder!

  5. running mom says

    Not too many scary things up in the playroom, except an occasional poopy diaper!

    I used to live in new orleans and would go running on the levee in the morning. I would often see people passed out on the river side across from a local bar. I also ran by a homeless couple most mornings on "their" bench. They scared me at first, but then I kind of got used to them!
    When I lived in Chicago I came across a guy laying on the side of my normal trail. Scared the crap out of me… I didn't touch him but I did called the police.

  6. NY Wolve says

    I have pretty sane rules and rarely put myself in a position to be in a bad place. I am also like 6'2" and not slim so I doubt I am a prime target.

    But if I have the slightest doubt about my neighborhood or route…hello treadmill!

  7. Velma says

    I agree – any doubt and I am on the mill. Sorry about your foot. I would listen to your body. No need to deal with PF for another 6 months.

  8. jillwillrun says

    I've had plenty of animal encounters while running (chihuahua, german shepherd, poodle, ostrich!) but no creepy people run-ins. I don't know if it's smart to admit it online, but I probably don't do everything I could to keep myself safe. But then, I guess you can do tons of things and it's never foolproof!

  9. Psyche says

    The one place I feel like I don't do my best to protect myself is out on the trails. I suppose that's why I always feel extremely paranoid on trails! I know I shouldn't go alone, yet I still do.

    I so take a whistle if I'm trail running, tho- as I see bears all the time:)

  10. Jill says

    I've seen a lot of coyote on my runs, once 3 of them were within 20' of me while alone on the trails. That's the one time I got a little freaked about them but they always remain harmless. I have no choice but to go alone, I just like to keep an extra eye open when I do!!

  11. Julie says

    So far I have not had any big issues. I am the same as Psyche…I run on the trails too and almost always by myself. I also get paranoid and freak out when I hear the critters making noise in the leaves or whatever:) I do not listen to music because I want to be alert and in tune to my surroundings! If I would ever see a snake on one of my runs…I would most likely have a heart attack!!!!

  12. Keri says

    I don't normally run by myself, but if I do its in a well populated place. I also just ordered a RoadID. I hate running with my phone but if I am alone and in an unfamiliar place I will…

  13. Slomohusky says

    Not too creepy stuff, unless you don't consider a bottle full of urine being thrown at ya and someone in a Chevy Pickup trying to run me over 5:AM once. These are the only knuckleheads I have come across. Nothing in the woods or wildlife as ever bit me.

  14. Rad Runner says

    Oh! I had an incident a couple of weeks ago, where a guy didnt stop at his stop sign while I was running, (note I was already in the cross walk section of the street!) I put my hands up to get his attention. I think (read:I know) he took it the wrong way, so he put his car in reverse, and rolled down his window… So I ran as fast as my legs would carry me and headed down to the beach path, where crummy drivers can not go…

  15. Love to Run says

    I have had a few encounters with angry drivers who have cut me off but otherwise I have never really felt "unsafe" while running. Maybe that is just a 'Man' thing.

    I have come across many odd thongs on runs includes scaring up some deer and other smaller animals. I have seen a lady 'kidnapping' a wild goose and putting it into the trunk of her car. And the one that gets me is the "Fake Dead Peeple" I saw in a river. they looked real from a distance but upon closer look, just Halloween maniquins.

  16. Cynthia O'H says

    I had an uncomfortable feeling doing a long run alone in Toronto. An older style van went past me a few times. I made note of the license plate and flagged down a police car to share my feelings. They went in the same direction to check it out and I never saw it again.

  17. shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama says

    Where I live currently the biggest worry is how rural it is. There are long distances between houses so if someone were to snatch me there wouldn't be witnesses. I usually don't worry about the people, I have seen loads of wildlife, dogs, cats, goats, horses, cows, snake, turtles, canadian geese, bear, coyote, wildhogs. The biggest worry are the dogs! They can be mean!

    Thanks for the comments and joining me on my bumpy journey down the road!

  18. Pat says

    Back in the dark ages of the late '70's, I had snowballs, sodas, and even an apple thrown at me from car windows while I was running. I was also knocked off of my bike several times in the late '70's early 80's, by people leaning out of car windows and pushing me over. I've had no negative encounters since then. Maybe people are more used to seeing women running and biking, or maybe I'm more careful about where I go.

  19. Candice @ I Have Run says

    I haven't ever had bad experiences but it is my biggest running fear to get snatched. I try to run on busier streets because I would honestly rather get bit by a car. I figure I have a better chance of survival than if some creep drags me into his car. Fun stuff.

  20. Evolv Rose says

    I've never had a bad encounter but it's definitely wise to be in the practice of keeping the volume down if you wear an ipod and your eyes peeled. Also, make sure someone knows where you're running!

  21. Adam Culp (Crazy Floridian) says

    I feel for women in this subject. I suppose men need to also be aware, but we usually don't have to worry about the pervs out there like women do.

    Have you though of taking a small spray bottle of pepper spray? Oh, and the mobile phone is always in my pocket.

  22. Kristin says

    Hmm,I do run with pepperspray. Danna got exposed to once on the trail by a homeless guy and she was even WITH her husband. I've seen some homeless campers, a guy hiding in the bushes once, etc. I call the cops whenever there's a suspicious person but I definitely try to be careful. I even worry about my car getting messed with.