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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Running Safely




Cheryl Monnat at Badgerland Striders Half Marathon

 " I find the harder I work, the more luck I have."

Jenny Crain, a local Milwaukee runner suffered serious head and neck injuries after being hit by a car while training on the east side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 21, 2007.

Crain was four-time Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon. She represented the U.S. in the marathon at the 2005 World Track & Field Championships, and was the top U.S. finisher at the 2004 ING New York City Marathon. Crain finished 11th at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in  2:37:36.

Crain is still working to recover from that accident.

There have also been two attacks on women joggers in the Milwaukee area in the last month. Both were running on bike paths on the south side of Milwaukee, very near my home. One in St. Francis and one in Cudahy. 

So there are multiple dangers out there for runners.

Here are some tips to stay safe during your run:

Buddy Up
There is safety in numbers. So run with a partner or a group if at all possible. The Badgerland striders and Tri Wisconsin here in Milwaukee have several chances to run with them. There is a track workout at Hart Park with Tri Wisconsin on Wednesday nights. In winter they move to the Petit Center. The Badgerland Striders have a fun run on Wednesday nights and a marathon build up run on Saturdays. Our group in Virginia also has a Saturday morning running group.  It is not only fun and safe to run in a better group, but can make you a better runner. So if you can’t make group workout, find a friend.

Always run against traffic. You will have a clear view of the traffic. Be especially careful of cars making turns. If you run with traffic, cars making right turns will be behind you. Run against traffic for a better view. Cars will not see you, make contact and run defensively.

Traffic Lights
Never cross in intersection when the “don’t walk” light is flashing or on.  Don’t take a chance the intersection is clear. Make eye contact with drivers to be sure they see you. Motion them through the intersection so you can be sure it is clear.

Make a presence
Wear bright colors to help drivers spot you.  If you have to run at night wear reflective colors and be extra mindful of traffic. Carry pepper spray to deter dogs and other unfriendly types.

Women need to be extra careful. Stay to well traveled and well lit areas. Avoid running alone at night and early in the morning.  Stay on main streets if running at night or early in the morning. Stay away from remote areas of trails or bike paths if running alone.  Vary your running route and run in low crime areas.  If you have a dog that likes to run, take them along.  Also let someone know where you are going.

It can be great to run with music. Keep the volume low enough so you can hear traffic or someone coming up behind you. Always be aware of your surroundings. Look for “safe” areas like gas stations you can run to if needed.

Bring some form of ID with you in case you need medical attention.  A good choice is the Road ID band. (  Many race packets have a discount for this product.

What if you pull a hamstring on a long run. You may want to have some cash to get home or bring a cell phone to call for a ride.

Stay safe out there and keep working hard!

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have almost 100 members in 17 states. If you wish to join us visit our web site.

CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy. It affects over 155,000 Americans (as many as MS).  It is a disease of the nerves that control the muscles. It is slowly progressive, causing loss of normal function and or sensation in the lower legs/feet and arms/hands.

 Symptoms include; muscle wasting in the lower legs and feet leading to foot drop, poor balance and gait problems Atrophy in the hands causes difficulty with manual dexterity.

 Structural foot deformities such as high arches and hammer toes are common.

 Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures and many people have chronically cold hands and feet.

Additional symptoms may include fatigue, sleep apnea, breathing difficulties and hearing loss.

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