Given the tropical heat, and most people’s work schedules, it isn’t unusual that a large number of runners only get a chance to lace up and head out the door after the sun has gone down. Now, Singapore is one of the safest cities in the world, and as such, we tend to become quite complacent. However, as the PSA so frequently reminds us, “low crime doesn’t mean no crime”.
Ensuring personal safety means staying alert and on guard at all times, and the following are things to take note of if you choose to run at night.
Do’s and dont’s for nocturnal runners:
1. It makes little difference what colour your running outfits are during the day (although black will probably absorb and retain more heat), but when the sun goes down, it’s time to pay closer attention to your clothes. To aid drivers, cyclists or other pedestrians, wear white or light-coloured clothing. Some running clothes also have stitched-in reflectors, which further increase visibility.
2. Leave the headphones at home. Your visibility is already reduced by night, so keep your other senses keen. You can’t hear cars, bicycles, dogs off the leash, or any other potential dangers when you’ve got the music blasting.
3. Run against the flow of traffic and stick to the footpaths. It’s easier to avoid vehicles when they’re coming in your direction, rather than from behind. Even if you’re running on pavements, there is no guarantee that a vehicle won’t suddenly swerve towards you for any number of reasons.
4. Rotate a handful of familiar routes. Night is not the time to go exploring a new running route, so stick to well-lit paths where you recognise landmarks and have no problems identifying where you are. Avoid creating a pattern by varying the time of the night and rotating a few routes, to prevent potential stalkers from following you.
5. A hand torch or frontal lamp can be useful in providing additional light, especially in certain areas with poor or no lighting, or if you have poor night vision.
6. Bring a little bit of cash, in case you ignored our advice to stick to familiar routes, got lost, and need a cab ride home.
7. Carry a mobile phone to call for said cab, or a lift from someone who loves you. It’s also crucial in case you need to call for help in an emergency.
8. Run with someone. There is safety in numbers, and a running buddy is an extra pair of eyes and ears. Not only will this discourage malicious attacks, you’ve got someone to warn you about that extra step, or hole in the ground.