UK Athletics in cooperation with the Home Country Athletics Federations have published updated safety advice for runners as well as suggested guidance for non-runners.
The advice was refreshed following some recent high-profile cases of harassment of athletes training in public areas. Any abuse or threats against athletes whilst training are completely unacceptable, and the safety guidelines published are to support athletes, recreational runners and other sports people exercising in public to feel prepared for any eventuality.
In addition, guidance for non-runners has been published to highlight how some behaviours may cause harm or upset, even unintentionally.
UKA’s Development Director Mark Munro said: “Much has been discussed over the last few weeks relating to harassment of runners, particularly female runners, and more recent events have sadly put a spotlight on the issues of safety in public. We must stand together and ensure zero tolerance towards any such behaviour and make sure that everyone should feel comfortable and has the right to be safe exercising in public. Whilst we actively request that our respective government sections and national organisations ensure there is zero tolerance towards any type of harassment in this space, it is also important that we should all prepare and better understand what else can be done to support this objective.
“The updated guidance is a way of highlighting some behaviours runners most commonly encounter whilst out running. It also helps runners ensure they are fully prepared for their exercise and have thought through all safety considerations.
“We would also like to thank our Home Country colleagues and their respective running organisations for support in drawing this advice together as well as West Midlands Police for their valued input.”
Middle distance runner Sarah McDonald, who was assaulted whilst out on a training run in February and shared her terrible experience through social media, has supported the launch of the new guidelines:
“I’m pleased UK Athletics have updated and reissued this information for runners. There is a bigger conversation right now about safety and this advice is a sensible checklist for anyone who exercises outdoors, not just women.
“Whilst it is unacceptable any runner should face physical or verbal assault or be endangered whilst simply exercising, we can do a few things to make us feel a little safer.
“But it’s not just about the runner, so I’m really pleased that there is also guidance for non-runners. People should take responsibility for their behaviour and that starts with having an awareness of how their actions can impact others.”
Mark Silvester from West Midlands Police said: “West Midlands Police were delighted to contribute to the advice UK Athletics was providing to runners of all abilities. Outdoor exercise is essential for health and wellbeing, and it’s important to be able to exercise safely. We encourage runners and joggers to follow the simple guide that has been produced.”
To view the new guidelines, click here