Make sure exercise is good for your health: Manchester runners warned over dangers of jogging at night

It’s the evening and you’re putting your running kit on; hi-vis clothing, lacing up your trainers, selecting your playlist and heading out of the door.

You set off into the night as streetlamps illuminate your path, with the monotonous thud of your feet hitting the pavement the only sound to challenge your music as it becomes the rhythmic beat for every song you listen to.

Just you and the road, just you and the run, together as one.

That’s how it should be, right?

Well not so, as the number of runners that have been the target of abuse in Manchester is steadily on the rise.

While it may fall into the same situation that cyclists face daily from motorists, runners use more accessible areas of the city and so can often face greater danger from abuse, harassment and assault.

Traffic can also be just as dangerous.

This danger can become more apparent with night-running, a common scene on your average high street, when runners can cross paths with greater danger due to being in the wrong place and decreased visibility.

As the winter draws ever nearer and with the darker, cooler nights, runners are being urged to be more safety aware and vigilant of others.

The Chorlton Runners have issued safety tips for runners as the evenings close in earlier and earlier.

Gavin Cameron, Chair of the Chorlton Runners, said: “Being visible to traffic is so important especially when running in an urban environment, wear bright clothing preferably with reflective or illuminated elements to make yourself stand out.

“Slow down and stop at junctions, remember stopping distances and visibility during dark, foggy winter evenings can be reduced dramatically.

“Observation is key to running safely at anytime of the year, survey the route ahead for obstacles or trip hazards, pay attention to traffic and pedestrians.”

It’s not just traffic that can pose problems for late night runners as the threat of crime and violence can increase in places such as parks and canal paths.

“Whether it be slowing down for the car failing to indicate or crossing the road/turning around to avoid a group of vocal young men outside of a pub a simple action based on gut instinct is a great way to keep safe and happy,” Gavin said.

“Remember open spaces such as parks and canal paths will have a very different feel on winter nights compared to how you remember them from sunny summer evenings.

“Avoid areas where you may feel isolated or if injured find yourself in danger. Stick to well lit roads in built up areas, if for any reason you need help it can be easily found by knocking on a door or stepping into a shop.

“Running as a group will often help those not keen on running in the dark feel more comfortable but also provide a little help and assistance should any one suffer an injury or fall.”

It is not just the danger posed by the areas runners find themselves in, as the weather has a big impact and being properly dressed & equipped can avoid injury and illness.

Gavin added: “Be aware of the potential for icy pavements, walk for the first 50metres and check conditions before getting into stride.

“If needs be cancel your run. A missed evening cancelled due to ice will have a tiny impact on training compared to a few weeks out with a twisted ankle.

“It’s worth carrying a running jacket, hat and gloves in the winter in case you need to walk or the weather dramatically changes whilst you’re on course.

“If wearing it makes you too hot simply stuff the gloves and hat in the jackets pockets and carry it tied around your waist.”

Greater Manchester Police also offered some points of safety for night-time runners such as sticking to well-lit areas and avoiding alleyways and carparks.

They also suggest keeping valuables out of sight and know your surroundings.

For details about the Chorlton Runners and how to join, click here.

Image courtesy of georgie pauwels, with thanks

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