Running safety top of mind in local parks - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Running safety top of mind in local parks

Source: WMC Action News 5 Source: WMC Action News 5

It may be hot outside, but that’s not stopping hundreds of runners, many who are training for races like the St. Jude Marathon in December. For them, safety is top of mind, especially when running in local parks.

“If you can, run with a group. There’s plenty of running groups these days. They have gotten large because people like to run with a group,” said Barry Roberson.

Roberson is the owner of Breakaway Running in Memphis. He helps coordinate running groups across the city. In fact, they have a group run every day of the week, before or after work, to fit all schedules.

If that’s not your style or you can’t make one of their runs, he said there are a few things to keep in mind. Park near cameras, in parking lots near a trail or park. Do not leave valuables in your car, and, most importantly, he said ditch the headphones.

“If you look like an easier target, you’re more adept to be targeted. And I’ve got a feeling they aren’t going to look at you then if you’re running without,” said Roberson. “It’s a major sense that you lose when you have music playing in your ears.”

When WMC Action News 5 asked him the safest park to run in Memphis, he did not have an answer.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re in the nicest suburb in Memphis or T.O Fuller. Things can happen anywhere if you’re not smart,” said Roberson.

We checked stats at Overton Park for the last three months and found a handful of car break-ins but no serious crimes.  He says that is due in large part to a park watch group called “Team Overton Park.”

“It’s just ordinary people who patrol the park, and if they see something funny they call in,” said Roberson.

Still he says you can take matters into your own hands with self-defense classes or pocket protection.  He recommends runners carry a small amount of pepper spray and reminds everyone to be mindful of their surroundings.

Copyright 2015 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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