Ask any female runner in your life, and they will likely have stories of being catcalled on runs, having a car follow them, or generally getting a feeling of uneasiness.
Stories like that Vanessa Marcotte, Molly Tibbits, and Kristina Vetrano unfortunately seem to be more and more common.
In 2018, The New York Times published an article “Running While Female,” where women around the country shared their stories of harassment and fear while running.
And while the onerous is on society to address the systemic issues that lead to this violence, it is also important for runners to protect themselves.
While things like letting someone know your route, not wearing ear buds, and changing up your routine are all important proactive steps, there are products on the market that can help you fight back if necessary.
This article will highlight a few of them.
It is also important to keep in mind the laws in your state when considering each product, and also be wary that unless you are trained in using a weapon, it can be used against you.
The Top Choice
1. Sabre Advanced 3 in 1 Pepper Spray
If you’re interested in carrying pepper spray, the Sabre Advanced 3 in 1 Pepper Spray is a good option.
This pepper spray is made for runners and has an adjustable handstrap, so it is easy to carry with you.
- #1 PEPPER SPRAY BRAND TRUSTED BY POLICE AND CONSUMERS WORLDWIDE: Including New York P.D., Chicago P.D., and U.S. Marshals; RELIABLE AND LONG-LASTING: Made in the U.S.A. with a 4-year shelf life (2X the industry standard) for the best self-protection available
- GUARANTEED MAXIMUM STRENGTH: SABRE's professional-grade OC Spray is backed by our in-house HPLC lab testing, guaranteeing maximum heat and stopping power in every burst and eliminating the 30% failure rate experienced with other brands (U of Utah study)
- MAXIMUM STOPPING POWER: SABRE ADVANCED 3-in-1 formula includes max strength pepper spray, CS tear gas for enhanced burning and UV marking dye to help ID suspect; NO ACCIDENTS: Reinforced trigger twist locks to prevent accidental discharge
- PROTECTION IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND: Lightweight and non-intrusive pepper spray includes an adjustable hand strap for instant access; Perfect for running, this ¾ oz unit provides 35 bursts (5x Other Brands) for protection against multiple threats
- BE PREPARED WITH FREE TRAINING: Feel confident with every SABRE self-defense product; Packaging includes links to free training videos and safety tips to help maximize your personal safety when in the face of danger
It also has a safety lock to avoid accidental discharges. In addition to pepper spray, it also contains tear gas and UV Dye to mark the attacker.
Links to training videos are also included to ensure that you are using the product safely.
2. ViperTek VTS 989
If you don’t feel comfortable carrying pepper spray, but want to carry something that packs a punch, there are lots of mini stun guns available. The ViperTek VTS 989 is portable and has anti-grab shocks so an attacker can’t take it away from you.
- VIPERTEK VTS-989 Heavy Duty Stun Gun
- Extremely Powerful
- Rechargeable Battery - No expensive batteries to buy
- Extremely Powerful
- Ultra-Sharp Spike Electrodes helps penetrate through thick clothing
It has good reviews, and is at an affordable price point.
The company makes devices with different shock levels, so you can choose which one is right for you.
3. Fisher Defensive Go Guarded
- SIZE MEDIUM: Fits ring size 5 to 9
- Comes with four ring size adjusters. Insert adjuster to change ring size
- CONVENIENT, COMFORTABLE, EFFECTIVE
- Better than pepper spray- Won't blow back on you, won't get knocked out of your hand, effective even if attacked from behind
Designed by runners, the Go Guarded ring has a heavy duty plastic serrated edge and can serve as a sharp weapon if needed. It is discrete and easy to carry.
The TigerLady is a small handheld device with sharp plastice claws that stick out from your knuckles once you make a fist.
Both products are easy to carry and don’t face the same legal restrictions that pepper spray or a stun gun might.
4. Vigilant 130db Personal Alarm
An important element of self defense is drawing attention to yourself. Making noise can help scare off an attacker.
There are a number of alarms on the market that are either wearable or easy to carry. One example is the Vigilant 130db Personal Alarm.
- ✔ LOUDER: 130dB attack alarm with push button activation and concealed OFF button
- ✔ PURSE / BAG / KEY RING CLIP: Key ring with purse / bag / backpack clip - the ultimate personal protection alarm to carry on your purse or backpack. It is the #1 Vigilant alarm for attaching to your keys.
- ✔ BACK-UP WHISTLE : Backup emergency manual whistle built-in for emergency use in case of battery failure
- ✔ HEAVY DUTY BATTERIES: Preloaded with heavy duty alkaline (LR44) watch batteries, user replaceable and 365 day standby time. You can find replacement batteries at any drugstore.
- ✔ VIGILANT WARRANTY: Vigilant alarms come with a full 1 YEAR WARRANTY. We're a Florida, USA based company with employees and product manufacturing in America and China. All Vigilant pepper spray is manufactured in the United States. Our alarms are designed in the United States and manufactured in China.
5. Doberman Security Jogger Alarm
This device can clip right to your key ring or shirt and has a back up whistle in case the battery fails.
Another option in this category is the Doberman Security Jogger Alarm, which can be worn around your wrist or your arm. All you have to do is press the alarm button, which emits a loud sound and a flashing light.
In addition to these products, there are also an array of apps that you can download to your phone to help keep you safe.
Road ID is available for free for both Iphones and Androids. Family and friends can track your work outs in real time, and a contact can be notified if you are stationary for a certain amount of time.
It also includes an emergency lock screen that will share important emergency contact and medical information with first responders if necessary.
If you use Strava as your GPS running app, you can upgrade to the paid monthly subscription and use the Beacon feature to share your location with up to three of your contacts.
At less than $5 a month, it is an affordable way to add some peace of mind to your run.
If you are going on vacation and find yourself running in an unfamiliar area, the My Safetipin app will notify you if you are entering an unsafe neighborhood, based on the safety scores of the area and crowdsourced information from other app users.
This app also gives you the option to invite family or friends to track you.
If you don’t have a smart phone or don’t want to download an app, you can use Kitestring which is a web based SMS messaging service. When you about to leave for a run, let Kitestring know and they’ll send you a text message to check in.
If you don’t respond within a predefined certain amount of time, they will send an alert to a preselected contact.
In addition to these products and aps, it is also a good idea to look into options for self-defense classes in your area. Often free or at a low cost, these classes teach you basic skills that could end up saving your life.
A popular course is R.A.D. Now open to men, women, and children (classes are taught separately among these groups), R.A.D courses are available across the country and internationally.
Often your local YMCA, community center, or local university will offer self-defense classes as well.
Staying safe on the road is all about taking precautions, from being aware of your surroundings to making sure that you’re visible on the roads to being prepared in case the unthinkable happens.
These products and apps are just some of the ones on the market for runners, that will help you feel more confident and safe on the road.
Conclusion: Our 5 Favorite Self Defense Products and Apps/Class for Runners:
All you have to do is press the alarm button, which emits a loud sound and a flashing light.
Staying safe on the road is all about taking precautions, from being aware of your surroundings to being prepared in case the unthinkable happens.
These products are just some of the ones on the market for runners, that will help you feel more confident and safe on the road.
Last update on 2020-06-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API