Now that mornings are taking a little longer to get lighter, it’s a good time to think about safety on your morning runs.
Though runner-car accidents are rare, when they do happen, they can be catastrophic. Back in 2011, Austin lost a well-known competitor and all-round great guy by the name of Scott Birk. Like many runners, Birk, a 2:47 marathoner, got in his 100 or so miles a week in the morning, when it’s still dark enough to make visibility problematic. One such morning, Birk was struck by a car while crossing a busy road in north Austin during one of those runs, and tragically, died at the scene. Whether he was careless or not and failed to check for on-coming traffic, we’ll never know.
What we do know is that there are plenty of ways to help prevent such tragedies. For starters, always run on the left side of the road, facing traffic. That way, you know when a car is approaching. When you do need to cross, don’t make a mad dash for it, but rather, take a moment to check your position and look for cars. And don’t forget bicycles. They are so quiet that they can sneak up on you, and certainly a bike-runner collision is not going to end well for the runner.
In addition to running smart, there’s some great safety gear in the “see-and-be-seen” category that Ready to Run carries that can go a long way towards preventing senseless accidents.
Ready to Run stocks a great line of Nathan products developed especially for runners’ safety.
To be seen:
- Nathan’s Strobe Light LED Safety Light Clip is one of the best little clip-on lights available. This small, but powerful strobe and/or not-strobe light clips right onto your running shorts waist band, and lets cars know right where you are. And it comes in a variety of great colors, from lime green to electric blue.
- The movement of your feet as you stride makes for an ideal high-visibility light source that can be easily spotted. The LightSpur LED Foot Light securely attaches to heel of your shoe and is extremely light-weight so you don’t feel it. It has multiple settings and is weather-resistant for wet conditions.
- The Streak Reflective Vest is one of the highest-visibility items on the market. You can see these babies glowing from a quarter mile away (actual specs are 1200-foot/366-meter visibility). At under two ounces, these ultra-lightweight vests have a sleek design, and their 360-degree reflectivity optimizes safety without hampering range of motion or arm swing. The vests come with attachment points for other Nathan light products, making them a “see and be seen” product.
- On those really early dark mornings, it also helps to have better visibility yourself! The Luna Fire 250 RX Run Chest/Waist Light is a lightweight powerful 250-lumen light with a comfortable strap for secure placement on your chest or waist. Runners can easily adjust the beam angle up and down. Additionally, you can remove the light and clip onto your running shorts, jacket, or anywhere else.
- Sure, you can buy flashlights anywhere, but Nathan’s Terra Fire 400 RX Hand Torch is custom designed just for runners. This 400 lumens hand-held flashlight is designed to fit your hand comfortably while you run without having to grip. It’s also rechargeable and water-resistant, and get this: the 24-degree downward projection angle directs the beam to pick up those nasty sidewalk raised separations that can send you flying! What about behind you? No worries, a built-in rear strobe can help alert cars and cyclists that you’re out running.
Your safety is too important to ignore! Once you start using these great products to see and be seen, you’ll wonder how you got along without them!
Upcoming races: Saturday, September 21, at 8:00 a.m. the Jaguar Jog 5K/10K at Moe and Gene Johnson High School, 4260, Ranch Rd 967 in Buda. Sunday, September 22 at 8:00 a.m., the Run with the Heroes 5Kat Camp Mabry, 2200 W 35th St. in Austin.