Running/racewalking early in the morning has been my habit since 2007 and it has been part of my daily life. I have chosen the specific time between 4:30-6:30am as it provides a kickoff for my daily chores putting my mind and body ready for the day. Further, doing your run at this time of the day has a lot of advantages as the weather is cooler and the streets are still not as carbon polluted as when there are already many vehicles on the road.
However, the biggest risk is SAFETY. When I say “safety” I am not referring to safety in running that you have control of such as, running opposite the traffic, wearing luminous gears, running with hydration, or others of the likes. Instead, what I am concern is safety of the road from “trill seekers”, “drunks”, “thieves”, “muggers”, “high on drugs”, or simply “those that have no better things to do in life”.
I was shocked and angered to read from JONEL MENDOZA aka Bugobugo’s blog titled CHEAP SHOT (read as well the comments of readers which is very interesting) that he had a very untoward incident last 11Sep10 wherein some stupid bugger threw a raw egg on him while he was running hitting him directly, a “cheap shot” indeed. What on earth was the purpose or satisfaction did the guy have? What is his mentality or state of mind that drove him to do such thing? Your guess is as good as mine. Such an incident like this is what I am more concern on safety in running.
I had my own share of untoward experience in the past. Sometime last December 2009 I wanted to try different areas in Metro Manila for my daily run and it was then that I decided to try Quezon City Memorial Circle. I arrived the area at about 4:15am and parked my car at the Quezon City Hall proceeding to run along the inner perimeter of QCMC, which is sparingly lighted, but in as much that it is a very busy street even on early mornings, I thought I was safe from hooligans, I was wrong. I have not even completed one lap while within the vicinity between North Avenue and Quezon Avenue Extension that I was surprised by a “flying paper bag” of “what have you” inside which almost hit me and landing just inches from my side. Shocked, I looked around and saw a speeding FX with noisy men inside. I was about to shout back when the FX stopped about 100 meters from me. I thought these guys really want to have “fun”. My anger immediately turned to fright. I stopped and positioned myself in the middle of the road so that all the vehicles passing by have a clear view of me. It was then that the FX knew that I did a safe and preventive move, rather than being exposed, the FX moved on. I must admit, it still took me a good 10 minutes to recover from my shocked. I had my doubts to continue my run, but told myself that doing so will just make those guys successful in their intention. I continued my run, until I finished 5 loops for a 10km distance. However, it was a lesson learned by me from then on.
For the above reasons, I stopped my street running in the early mornings and returned to ULTRA for my daily morning run. However, with the closure of ULTRA since early August for early morning users to give way to ASIAN GAMES athletes, I have no other recourse but go back to the street. The safest area is Fort Bonifacio.
To Run Safe, I now keep on the well-lighted area of the Fort from 4:30 to 5:15 am before venturing the outskirts of the Fort from 5:15am onwards. It is also quite reassuring to see ample security along the intersections. I must admit that the drivers within the Fort are more disciplined (maybe because of the securities posted). However, if I am not time pressed, I now start my run at 5am.
Nothing much we can do from these kind of people, but just exercise due diligence and AVOID them as possible. If confronted, move on and do not even bother to react. Turning your back is not an act of cowardice. We runners have better things in life to deal with and a fruitful life to spend.
Be safe in your runs.