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Running Outside? In Our Minds

Did you know we're exhausted from running? And no, not in the way you think.

We're exhausted from planning our run around the weather. It's winter, I better wait until lunchtime to run otherwise it's too dark. Oh, I had to work through lunch today and now all the sunlight has gone, I better not run now, it's not safe. I'll go to the gym instead. But I better drive, the bus stop is too far away and walking down secluded streets isn't safe. I better check in on my Walksafe App too.

We're exhausted from having to think too hard about what to wear. It's really hot today, I want to run in shorts. But I'll be catcalled. I could wear my leggings and a sports bra, but I'll still definitely be catcalled. I'll go with my leggings and a top, I'll be a bit too hot but there's no other option.

We're exhausted from planning which routes to take. I'm running on my own today so I better run on the main roads where it's busy, that way I'll be safe. But wait, if I run along the main road the lorries beep their horns at me. I could see what way CityMapper suggests for well-lit routes. Maybe I'll go to the gym instead, but I better drive.

We're exhausted from constantly thinking about risk aversion. I'm upping my training and I know I need to go for a long run. But I can't wear my headphones, I need to be completely aware. I should take my phone in case of an emergency, but where can I put it? I better wear my leggings with pockets and my safety alarm just in case.

We're exhausted from being given 'solutions' that don't really help any of us. Yeah, running groups are great, but they're limited in my area and only at certain times. I'm increasing my training and my friend is just starting her running journey, it's not feasible to run together. I should send her my GPS tracking anyway.

This isn't about making privileged people that don't consider these things feel guilty. It's about raising a tiny bit more awareness of everything we have to think about to simply go for a run outside. did you know that according to Runner's World, 43% of women report being harassed and 30% have been followed while out on a run?

There's a reason many of us hear our friends shout 'text me when you get home safe' as we're heading out the door. and it's not just on nights out in the dark. it stretches to every part of our lives, from the commute to work to our daily run. the sad truth is, every woman that's been on a run outside has had most, if not all, of these points run through her mind.

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Courtesy of Swati (@growing_designer on IG)


Lucy Gordon (She/Her)

Hello! I’m Lucy, an intersectional feminist passionate about community activism. Working as a senior writer in the public sector for the last four years, I’m delighted to be part of the Our Streets Now team, joining a collection of passionate and truly inspirational people working to create a fairer society for all.

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