How safe do you feel running in the dark?

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kittenkat    pirate
30/10/2012 at 16:24

From a traffic perspective and also personal safety perspective?

I run on country lanes with no street lighting and very little traffic. My biggest fear is getting hit by a drunk driver or some such. I know people use the back lanes rather than the major roads when they're over the limit.

Other than that, if a car acts suspiciously I memorise the number plate.

And just make myself and the dog very visible.

I guess the dog helps too, people are less likely to approach you if you have a dog.

I've been running these routes for 11 years now so I guess that speaks for itself. Are there any of your runs you won't do in the dark?



30/10/2012 at 16:29

I dont understand how some people can be so "unaware" !

I'm lucky to be able to run and MTB on the large marsh area (14 miles long) behind our house, Middle of the summer I caught up (slowly) with a youngish late teen / early 20's girl. Running in crop top and briefs with her Ipod blasting away in her ears...  She screamed when I passed her (yep I usually have that reaction on wimmin).. She was miles from anywhere and couldn't hear a lump like my catching her up anything could have happened to her

Lucky all our usual routes have pavement (after a fashion) and street lights even tho we are out in the sticks

LIVERBIRD    pirate
30/10/2012 at 16:32

I wouldn't go down the Transpennine trail in the dark. I'd end up in the water......


30/10/2012 at 16:56

Its a different question I think for men or women.  For me I often run a railway walk which is pitch black just using a head torch.  At 5.30am in the morning I am apart from the occasional deer, owl, rabbit etc. the only living thing moving along there.  Occasionally you can get spooked by weird noises (even the mile warning from your Garmin).  When I run round town in the dark it's on pavements, paper boys on high speed bikes with no lights are the main danger. 

30/10/2012 at 17:07
I feel safer running in the wilds than in some parts of town, but I generally don't feel unsafe. I have a headtorch, my mobile, someone knows where I am going and I stick to that route. I have flashing lights so cars can see me. I only ever have one earphone in and have turned my running app off if I notice that I am not fully aware of my breathing and footfall.
Oh, and I make a note of landmarks etc so if I do need to call for help I can give a fairly accurate description of where I am
30/10/2012 at 17:29

I think the biggest issue for me is the uneven ground. Last week I fell over and twisted my ankle but I dont feel like i'm unsafe in the area. I wish that I had a dog with me as protection but it's not really necessary (touch wood).

I'm like JF50 and run in the early mornings so i normally get lots of good mornings and 'shouldn't you be in bed'

30/10/2012 at 17:30

I have just started running and am just begining to experience running in the dark. It has its plus points and its negatives. I think the plus is that you cant see how far you have to go ! and the negatives are the cars and trucks that it is difficult to judge how close they are when they are approaching in the dark. Whilst I run in a hi-vis vest and head torch, I do worry about visability. Roll on the lighter nights (already !)

30/10/2012 at 17:45

I'm not sure about running at night, I will only go to my local park because I know it inside out. I don't think I'd go anywhere else, I'm joining an athletic club this week so I'll be running in big groups, that doesn't bother me, it's just when I'm on my own, I'm a 15 year old so I'm not "untouchable" yet. But I do go with the "better safe than sorry" rule when I'm out 

kittenkat    pirate
30/10/2012 at 19:21

I did 10 miles tonight, 6 of those in the dark. I ran partly on and then off road (forest trail). Yeah off road wasn't a good idea, even with a good head torch, you can't really see for foot placement.

I can't see on the unlit roads either but except for adverse camber, which I know is there, no prob on that score. Some of the drivers can't drive lanes though and I do have to run defensively.

On the running as a woman alone topic. I'm going to be honest, I do get some confidence from the fact that I can outrun most people over distance. If they don't catch me within 200m they're probably not going to.

But even if I couldn't, you surely can't live your life on the what if? But I do fully understand that different places in the UK offer different dangers.

30/10/2012 at 19:30
kittenkat wrote (see)

I can outrun most people over distance. If they don't catch me within 200m they're probably not going to.


I would be the same, just the other way around. I can do 100m in 12.3 seconds, and 200m in 25.6 I feel quite confident if it ever came down to it.

kittenkat    pirate
30/10/2012 at 19:35
Craigerrs wrote (see)
kittenkat wrote (see)

I can outrun most people over distance. If they don't catch me within 200m they're probably not going to.


I would be the same, just the other way around. I can do 100m in 12.3 seconds, and 200m in 25.6 I feel quite confident if it ever came down to it.

Ok, if we meet in a dark alley, you win... Initially

30/10/2012 at 20:57

I run in London. Most my runs are in the evening on pavements. I generally don't go out later than 9ish and the streets are pretty busy when I'm out so I feel pretty safe.

I wouldn't run through dodgy looking estates (and probably wouldn't during the day either!), I also avoid some routes at night that I happily do in daylight, such as the canal towpath, or through parks. I'd probably be perfectly safe but do feel it's not worth it as a lone female. I think I am more wary than some as a good friend was attacked and dragged into a park when I was a student. I saw the effect it had on her. 

If on holiday I never run on country roads. I don't feel safe even in daylight, mainly becasue I'm not used to it.

30/10/2012 at 21:59

The local park that I run around in daylight hours - the racecourse - is known locally after dark as the rapecourse.  I run on the streets after dark because I live in a nice area, but I don't take my ipod or garmin just in case.  

I'm a lot happier running early in the morning in the dark, than late at night, for some reason.

cougie    pirate
31/10/2012 at 00:29

I'd not run on country roads after dark - but then again I don't have to - theres plenty of lit pavements around, and I can use the local disused railway if I feel the need to run for hours on trails in the dark.  Not when its raining though cos that brings out the frogs and I spent a horrid 30 mins running down there trying not to step on them. I hated that. 

Safety wise running though - never had any worries.  Its mountain biking at night that gives me the greatest concern - bloody badgers have no fears and seem to enjoy trying to make me fall off the bike as they dash across in front of me. 

31/10/2012 at 00:41
I feel safe most places, and am a confident person but I cycled the Sankey way St.Helens to Warrington the other week (out of necessity) and it got dark on the way, I had lights with me but lets just say I was fairly glad to get home. I run at night but tend to stay on the paths and roads that are lit. Biking at night on the roads shows you how many poor (or drunk) drivers are out there, scary!
31/10/2012 at 07:18
I got caught out last night having been away for a few days and not adjusted to the earlier evenings, went for a quick run in Richmond park in London where I do all my running, no lighting there so it got very dark very quickly.

Anyone else run there after dark? Is it possible to run on the paths with lights or do you stick to the roads and hope the cyclists see you? I felt reasonably safe as it's so familiar was more worried about the wildlife tbh, ended up amongst a small group of deer without noticing, don't think they were best pleased!
31/10/2012 at 08:43
I run round our village at night and am lucky that we do have some pavements and street lights. I take the dog with me (she comes on all my runs) and we are both lit up like beacons along with high-viz vests etc. I wouldn't go and do any of the back lanes in the dark as the drivers round here aren't reliable enough not to run me over, even lit up like I am. It's also quite remotes round the back lanes and no one would hear you scream! Lol.

I feel safer when the dog is with me, although I know that she is the softest do priest thing on 4 legs. Thankfully, other people don't know that.
31/10/2012 at 09:20

I've always felt safe running in the dark. When I lived in Glasgow I used to get home from work at 2-3am and go out round the local parks then. I avoided pubs/clubs at chucking out time like they were the plague but I always figured the bigger parks had such a bad reputation that pretty much nobody would be hanging around them in the middle of the night, and I was right! I'd occasionally see other nocturnal runners and sometimes early morning cyclists, but nobody else apart from police on patrol.

Now I live in a small village and run on the cycle paths that used to be the railway lines. Again they're pretty much deserted at night and I much prefer running there to running on country roads, even the ones that are lit. I've managed to spook myself a couple of times but usually cause I start thinking about ghosts and the like and not because I'm worried about rapists or muggers.

I'd never run with headphones at night, that's just mental...


31/10/2012 at 09:38

I don't feel that my personal safety is at risk running in the dark.

In the winter I have to walk home from the station after work in the dark every day.  Why would I be any more at risk while running only slightly later in the evening?

I do worry more about not seeing clearly where I'm putting my feet.  Even though the streets are lit, the lighting isn't all that great and the pavements are not always nice and even.

I think I'm far more likely to fall flat on my face than get assaulted.

31/10/2012 at 09:46

I grew up running in the dark, but I am quite wary. I always wear reflective clothing and never take music. I tend to stick to major roads with pavements where there are plenty of cars and other people present, or just do laps of the block around where I live. I'm pretty confident in my ability to outrun people on foot - I'm more worried about being dragged into a car etc... As a junior, we received a bit of defence training on a club night. I used to run with a rape alarm if I was going alone at night, but nowadays I don't bother - but to be honest I don't go at night as much any more.

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