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Napa Police Urge Jogger Safety

Always take a cell phone on your run, said Napa Police Capt. Jeff Troendly. “That way if you feel threatened or fall, get hurt, you can call someone. And let someone know what route you are running and don’t deviate from it.”

With a new year upon us, Karen Bitton of Napa is determined to get in shape, lose some extra pounds and feel healthy: Bitton, 31, has taken up jogging.

“I used to jog many years ago. But then I got married, had kids and got lazy,” she said. “I need to have more self-discipline.”

Although getting in shape is good for your health, personal safety while working out is just as important, says Napa Police Capt. Jeff Troendly.

“This time of the year with all the New Year’s resolutions, people are changing their lifestyles. They have taken up running, walking and going to the gym,” Troendly said.

“Joggers have to focus on personal safety.”

Troendly strongly urges joggers to follow safety rules to prevent becoming a victim of assault, a traffic accident or personal injury.

Being aware of one’s surroundings is essential, he said.

“Run in well-lit areas, rather than dark or remote places,” Troendly said.

“We don’t suggest joggers run on roads, that they share with traffic. There are also potholes or other obstructions the runner may not see. It’s better to run if possible on the sidewalk.”

Wear bright clothing, preferably clothing with reflector strips, he added. “The runner should be (as) brightly visible as possible. Reflective materials magnify the light.”

He also recommends joggers run in pairs or “even better” in groups. “There is safety in numbers.”

Always, take a cell phone, Troendly said.

“That way if you feel threatened or fall, get hurt you can call someone. And let someone know what route you are running and don’t deviate from it.”

And Troendly warns against running with headphones.

“It’s a bad idea. You need to be able to hear what is going on around you,” he said. “You have to be able to hear if someone or a dog is coming up behind you and also the traffic.”

Lisa Eckart, 49, of Oregon, who has run in the Napa Valley Marathon, echoed Troendly's message.

“It’s not safe to run alone in the dark,” Eckart said.

“I jog five days a week for about an hour and half. I start at 5:30 a.m. and since it’s dark at that time, I jog with a group. I have a headlamp that I put around my head, that way I can see where I am running,” she said. 

Eckart said she wouldn’t think of running without her cell phone.

"If I fall down and get hurt or if someone or a dog gets me, I can call for help,” she said. “I also carry pepper spray, which I can use on either two- or four-legged predators.’

Troendly said joggers must run with the traffic and obey traffic lights. 

Do you have a safety tip for winter joggers? Share it in our comments section below.

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Kristina January 12, 2013 at 12:58 AM
Just curious as to whether an incident prompted this article?
Cathy Gumina Odom January 12, 2013 at 02:13 AM
Great point. As a kid running cross country, my Sicilian Dad made sure I took the Rottweiler with my when running or horseback riding. Very remote areas in Half Moon Bay then in Healdsburg. Dogs are faster to respond to noise and strangers than humans. Of course running with a gun is good protection too. Something light weight that the trigger doesn't go off and shoot my toe? What do you guys suggest for a weapon for protection for women runners? Glock perhaps?
Elaine January 12, 2013 at 08:41 PM
ah yes, my resolution to run and actually found someone who is already committed to running early so YES..and the recommendation to run on the sidewalks.. hmmm ...It really irritates me when I have to dodge runners who are running on streets like Salvador right off Big Ranch Road and on BRRoad.. What are they thinking.... it is sooo dangerous. I totally get the beauty of these areas but my goodness. I barely get by them trying to avoid swerving into the oncoming traffic.. There seems to be an arrogance. Same thing with bicyclists.. and really, I am utterly glad to see people out running and riding.. It is great in Napa but please guys, not on our very pretty two lane streets that are so enjoyable to drive on.. Wait until the sanctioned events and have a ball safely..
Horus McGillikuddie January 14, 2013 at 04:48 PM
This time of year, any working person who jogs or walks has the obsticle of dark (mornings or nights) to contend with. Everyone should be more alert and take precautions. Street and sidewalk lighting is horrible in Napa and plus the sidewalks are horribly maintained. The only time I have had issues tripping is when I have been jogging on the sidewalk. Thats why you will see (me and other) joggers running in the streets. Be smart, be patient and be aware - everyone!
Horus McGillikuddie January 14, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Plus...Napa Running Co (shameless plug) has great clothing and lights that anyone jogging in the dark should wear to be visible to autos and others out there.

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