A runner's legs running on pavement, staying safe on the run

Running is a cheap and accessible form of exercise, but in recent times many women struggle with feeling safe on the run. In February, 22-year-old nursing student Laken Hope Riley was murdered when she was out running on her college campus. In September 2022, mom Eliza Fletcher was killed while running early in the morning before her kids woke up. Stories like this are all too common, and women are more hesitant than ever to go out for their morning run. As the weather gets warmer and we find ourselves lacing up to get some fresh air, here are some tips for staying safe on the run.

Tell Someone

Before you step out the door, make sure someone knows where you’re going and when to expect you back. You can share your location on your phone so they can see your  whereabouts. If you use a running app like Strava, you have the ability to share your location in real time. Your partner will also be able to see your pace and battery life.

Have Protective Gear Ready

If you’re headed out the door in the early morning hours or later at night when it’s still dark out, make sure you can see and be seen. Wear a light-up vest and a head lamp (especially if you’re running on trails or uneven ground). I also splurged on open-ear headphones like these Shokz ones so that you can hear the environment around you. If you don’t have access to these, run with only one ear bud in or without music so you can stay aware. I also carry runner’s pepper gel and a personal alarm. This alarm is loud and all you have to do is pull on the bottom and anyone around you will be alerted. I recommend stopping by a running store like Marathon Sports in Yarmouth. They have a great selection of products to keep you safe on the run.

Consider Varying Your Routes

This one can be really hard. As moms and runners, we’re creatures of habit and love a routine. However, changing up where you run and at what time of day is a great way to make sure you don’t become an easy target. Sometimes it’s as easy as running your usual route in the opposite direction or on the other side of the road. When you can, stay on main roads and in well-lit areas. If you’re heading out for a longer run, check out the Cape Cod Rail Trail. It’s a paved bike trail, which is great for a smooth run without worrying about cars. It’s also very populated in the spring and summer months.

Alternatives To Running Alone

I get it. You run because it’s the one time of day you actually CAN be alone. The solitude is the biggest part of its charm. However, think of some alternatives here and there to minimize how often you’re running alone. Can you run later in the morning with your kiddo in a jogging stroller? Are you open to using a treadmill at the gym and taking advantage of their childcare? What about running with people? Marathon Sports has a running group every Thursday at 6:00pm. If that time doesn’t work for you, make your own! Hop on the Cape Cod Moms Facebook group and see if there’s anyone else in your area looking for a running buddy.

Always remember, you’ve got this, you’re doing great, and you have great kids with a great mom who cares about keeping herself safe.

Shannon Brady
Shannon moved with her husband to Cape Cod during the pandemic to be closer to family. She is originally from Providence and married her high school sweetheart Tom. She went to college at Boston University and earned her degree in human physiology. She worked as a preschool teacher before applying to graduate schools to pursue her degree in physical therapy. She attended USC to get her doctorate in physical therapy and spent 10 years in Los Angeles with her husband. During the pandemic, she and her husband bought a home in Dennisport to be closer to family. After over two years of infertility, they welcomed their daughter Lily. They then welcomed their second daughter Hailey a short sixteen months later. Shannon is a physical therapist and a board-certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist, although she currently stays home with her girls, who are now one and two years old. She is passionate about using her knowledge in physical therapy to empower parents and give them confidence around their baby’s development. She is an avid runner and former Girls On The Run coach with a strong desire to advocate for young women and girls in sport. She also enjoys reading, cooking, snuggling with her dog Jack and watching reality TV. Shannon’s favorite part of living on Cape Cod is being able to watch fireworks from Chatham to Hyannis from the beach on the 4th of July.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here