Safety for runners, particularly women, is a growing concern. Many women who enjoy running off the beaten path or during the dark hours of the night or early morning might find themselves worrying about the risks associated with being alone while out running. However, there are many things runners can do to help protect themselves and reduce the risk of danger while running, including choosing different routes, running with a group of people, staying focused on their surroundings, running in high-traffic areas, and taking advantage of running apps.
A few years ago, runners were limited to bulky tools or difficult to handle or manage devices, but technology has since evolved, allowing us to carry lightweight, handy smart phones that we can easily port in our sportswear or sports bras with built-in pockets. Here are five highly rated phone apps for both iOS and Android phone users that can help to ensure a safer run for those who enjoy pounding the pavement on their own.
5 Phone Apps That Keep Runners Safe
1. ROAD iD
The ROAD iD app gives a nod to the story of Hansel and Gretel as it allows you to leave “eCrumbs” for up to five chosen friend or family contacts. These contacts can track your running route via text or email, and they receive an alert when you stop moving. The app refreshes itself every 30 seconds, so it communicates your location in real-time. Not only is the alert fantastic for motivation since it ultimately means you can’t take a long rest break, but it’s also a good way to keep friends and family in the loop should something happen to you.
StaySafe is another app centered around location-based tracking. If you fail to check in when the timer goes off, the app automatically notifies your contacts and sends your location via SMS or email — even if your phone is damaged, turned off, or if the battery dies. The app also features an auto-inform service, which lets your contacts know when you manually stop your run, as well as two PIN numbers: one for canceling alerts and alarms and another for duress or life-threatening situations. For instance, if someone is forcing you to enter a PIN to cancel the alert, the app will appear to shut down, but using the duress PIN will still allow your emergency contacts to receive a message with your GPS location.
Similar to Bugle, RunRaegis notifies your contacts when you set out on your run, and it tracks you as you go. If you don’t come back in the pre-set time, the app will set up smart alerts to notify your contacts. Female runners may also appreciate the panic button feature which, when activated, alerts your contacts, connects them to 911, and sends a blast to all runners on the RunRaegis network who are at or near your last known location.
Think of bSafe as an Uber tracking system for runners. It not only follows you as you go, but it also features an alarm that, when activated, triggers your network and sends a message with your location and a 10-second video that starts to record as soon as you activated the alarm. Thanks to the app’s GPS tracking feature, friends and family can also follow you — virtually, of course — as you go.
Similar to bSafe, friends and family do not need the Glympse app in order to view your location in real-time. Although Glympse can be used for a variety of situations such as driving home from work, finding out when a late colleague will arrive, and letting friends and family know you’re on your way, it is becoming increasingly popular among runners. With Glympse, you can share your location for up to four hours. Simply select a contact, set the expected duration of your run, and hit the pavement.
These days, many women runners are turning to technology to help improve their sense of security. However, in addition to these technology advancements, it’s also important that you remain aware of your surroundings, let people know where you’re going, stay in high-traffic areas, and know your routes. Combining common sense with the latest phone safety apps will hopefully allow you to enjoy your run with as little worry as possible.