If I see you on the trails

I long ago ceased my running and have been a walker and hiker instead. Often, I will go to one of the four trails in parks near my home. If you see me on the trails, you will see a friendly, but tall 59 year old man. Yet, I understand why women running alone will pause when they see me coming towards them.

The news of the day only heightens the concern women must have in the workplace. Similarly, they must be diligent when away from the crowds. I do my best to be overly friendly when walking on the trails, but I am a big guy and people don’t know me from Adam. Female joggers and walkers have to be on the guard.

Since I walk the trails quite often, allow me to offer some advice as this old man and father sees it. Please do not run or walk alone. It is that simple. There have been too many stories where lone women have been attacked. A dog will help, but another person is even better.

Another piece of advice may be harder to follow. Shed the music and earpieces. Sound is a good indicator of trouble, so when it is blocked by music, one of your senses is disabled. I know of several stories where the assailant came up from behind. Another sad story is a woman running at night on a street did not realize a truck passing had a trailer, so she stepped off the curb after the truck passed only to be killed by the trailer. If she had been without earpieces, she might have heard the trailer. Plus, it is not uncommon for a runner to dart in front of a car when listening to music.

The final piece of advice is to avoid running at night or dusk. It is hard to see you, first and foremost, but it is harder to see the assailant. The best option is to run or walk at a park with a crowded parking lot. If yours is the only car, it is best to avoid the trail that day. It gives me pause when I am the lone car.

I have come across some interesting things along the paths. I saw about eight deer earlier this week. I have seen snakes and been spooked by rustling squirrels and birds. I have yet to see any bears, although there have been more sightings in the city. I have witnessed what I think was a police/ informant meeting, which hastened my pace. I have seen people who have given me pause. And, I have seen too many women jogging alone.

Be safe and happy trails.

16 thoughts on “If I see you on the trails

  1. Note to Readers: In the theme of safety for women and men, I encourage runners not to run on sidewalks and use running tracks of trails. The concrete does not flex and knees, shins, ankles and feet take the pounding. Shin splints are not uncommon for sidewalk runners, which are painful. Having been a runner for ages, I applaud the runners, but take care.

  2. All excellent advice, Keith. When I hike with Herb, he is adamant that I NOT wear my ear buds, for we are usually hiking in the mountains and he’s afraid I won’t hear a rattlesnake. Of course, being mostly deaf, I wouldn’t hear it anyway, but … to appease him, I leave the buds at home. I was crossing the Kroger parking lot the other day, foolishly reading a text message on my phone, and nearly got hit by a car. Now I know better than that … sheesh. πŸ™‚

      • Yes, I learned a lesson … read the text before getting out of the car. When walking across a busy parking lot, one should have their head up and eyes open! This ol’ body might not fare well against 2,000 pounds of steel … or fiberglass … whatever they make cars out of these days πŸ™‚

      • True. Plus, the driver may be on their phone, so you have extra incentive to watch for them. You know I would hate to have my last breath taken in a Kroger parking lot.

  3. Dear Keith,
    I joined a gym with a running trail under roof just o avoid this issue. Of course, I don’t have your beautiful trails which sound very tempting. In my area, when I do walk on trails, the sound that spooks me is this low deep rumbling sound of an alligator.
    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, that is an uncomfortable sound. I have never been a good gym runner. I actually have a treadmill, but I use it sparingly. It is now in my attic. Now, the gyms have these tracks, but as I understand it, you need to alternate directions to preserve your shoe treads. Just keep on moving, wherever you do it. Keith

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