Self-defence for joggers

  • OFTEN in the early morning or late at night, as I travel to and from my various classes, I see men and women of all ages jogging around the neighbourhood. Some joggers are serious, they are training towards a goal and others are just unwinding and letting off some steam.

While going for a jog around the neighbourhood is an excellent way to stay in shape and calm the mind it does present certain dangers, especially when jogging alone.

Besides being harassed or chased by dogs, one of the creepiest of all these dangers is that of being followed. This is when a sixth sense can cause you to become super alert to a footfall, snapping twigs or other sounds that seem to keep occurring behind you, especially when it seems nobody else is about. You would be asking yourself: “Who would want to follow me and why?”

For starters an angry ex or their family, a stalker, someone you managed to anger who now wants to confront you, or a criminal who has the intention of robbing or harming you.

This is why it is important to keep a keen eye on your safety when jogging:

  • First and most importantly always go for a run with a partner. There is safety in numbers.

  • Run in a familiar location where you will be able to find help quickly.

  • Wear reflective or brightly coloured running gear.

  • Make sure your family or friends know where you are running and when you expect to return.

  • Avoid taking short cuts.

  • Stick to well-lit areas.

  • Trust your instincts, should you feel you are being followed cross the road several times and see who follows you.

  • Don’t be forced to change your route.

  • Bring a cellphone in case you need to call for help.

  • If somebody approaches you in a way that makes you feel unsafe, yell any of the following in a powerful voice “Tell me what you want”, “go away”, “fire!” or “leave me alone”. Make a scene! Criminals do not like attention being focused on them.

  • Run away from a dangerous situation if you are able to, and do everything in your power to escape from the assailant.

  • If all else fails, fight and then run away and report the incident to the police.

You could use your water bottle, house keys and pepper spray and even your cellphone as weapon of self-defence.

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