Winter running safety

The winter training is now in full swing and already some reports of a few accidents involving some of the club’s runners have come in. Last Monday I suffered a torn ear from a bramble bush hanging out over the pavement and then caught my side on a cable tie holding a banner on a railing at the edge of Pollok park. Nothing too serious but sore enough at the time. Before anyone gets it in it wasn’t anything to do with my advancing years. Over previous winters a number of sprained ankles and running into bins or bollards while out were reported. 

Running is an enjoyable activity but athletes of all levels and at all times must remember that so many of our roads and pavements are full of potholes, raised slabs, loose stones and other obstacles. This can be made worse when the leaves on the pavement can hide things which could cause harm. 

We must always be vigilant. As well as pavements in poor condition, there are invariably bits of wood, broken fences, strands of barbed wire, low branches – some with thorns which can cause severe eye injuries – protruding from walls, fences and hedgerows. 

Add to these the propensity of people to step out of closes, shops. parked cars, round corners etc and the potential for accidents is quite high. So keep in the middle of the pavement as far as possible to avoid collisions. Avoid running too close to walls, sides of buildings and kerbs where a trips or stumbles could see you end up in the middle of the road. 

You should at all times, look straight ahead and keep your eyes firmly fixed on the pavement or road ahead of you. If running in a large group and you move out for a post, bollard or bin an audible alarm for those running behind you would be welcomed. Best not to turn your head or face sideways to sustain a conversation with your training partners as this can leave you venerable. 

Please report all dangerous surfaces and situations which you feel strongly about to a coach or committee member so we can warn athletes in advance of the dangers or try to do something about the problem.. 

Final point for the winter running is that when you are running as part of a group where possible major road crossings should be made at traffic lights or controlled crossing points. Where this doesn’t happen you need to be aware that you a responsible for getting yourself across the road safely. You shouldn’t follow blindly but ensure that the road is safe before you cross. 

Running is an enjoyable sport – but each and everyone of us must play our part to ensure it is a safe activity for all members of the club. 

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, try to ensure you’re easily visible at all times: Hi-viz tops, light coloured outfits, reflective gear all help ensure motorists and other road users can see you a good distance away.

Adapted from Oscar, Jonathan and Ian’s recent forum posts, here and here.