Bandits and motorists have a lot of us running scared

Stock image: A woman jogging
Stock image: A woman jogging
Image: 123RF

Runners are caught between a rock and a hard place. When they're visible on the road, they risk the chance of been robbed. When they wear dark clothes, they risk being run over by a car.

"Be visible at all times" is the advice that is widely shared for runners to take caution.

In running circles, being visible means wearing a reflector jacket, headlamp or brightly coloured clothes for motorists to see you when running in the evenings or early mornings.

Unfortunately, not only motorists see you, but gun-carrying, knife-wielding bandits of the night and early morning, see you coming from a mile away.

After the Comrades Marathon, there is always a wave of people who get inspired and take up running. They start training for the Soweto Marathon as their qualifier.

We always see them running with earphones and running on the wrong side of the road.

They get lost in the music and the freedom that comes with running. They lose all sense of awareness about what's going on around them.

They are not aware of the dangers surrounding them - a car hooting or footsteps from behind.

Earphones are not allowed at official races. There is plenty of music around at the Soweto Marathon to pump up your spirit.

Not only do runners have to be cautious of uncaring motorists, we have to run with the fear of being robbed, and worse for women, the fear of being raped.

These robbers have caught wind of how expensive running gear and gadgets are, and runners have become their targets.

Nine times Comrades winner Bruce Fordyce was not spared. He was robbed of his running shoes and watch. A female runner was raped while running in Fourways early this year. We hear of such stories often.

So what do you do? I prefer wearing dark clothes. A would-be robber would not see me coming until the last minute; they would be off guard when they see me and would not have had enough time to plan their attack.

When you are running facing on-coming traffic, which is advised, it is still your duty to look out for cars whether you are wearing bright colours or not.

Running with a crew is safer than running alone. It also improves your running as you have a group of people you have committed to.

My running crew, the Midcats Crew, and I run at 4.30am and we always make sure there are two males running with the slower ladies at the back. If you enjoy running alone, run in your complex or run very close to where you live. Should you get tired, you can simply walk back home.

Make sure you are medically fit so that when you run you don't have to run with your phone.

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