By: Michelle Bandur, LiveWellNebraska
Whenever I think I can squeeze in just a few more miles before dark, I always find myself chasing daylight and waiting for someone to jump out from behind the bushes and attack me.
The chance of something like that happening is pretty slim, but it’s possible.
Ande Jorgenson, the co-owner of Red Dirt Running Company in Omaha, had a close call himself.
“I was being dumb and running at midnight and three guys in a truck followed me,” he said. “They pulled up slowly and I ran away into a field. It scared the crap out of me.”
As the weather warms up and more runners hit the streets, it’s important to keep your safety a priority.
Kurt Sorys, a retired Omaha police officer who now works at 88 Tactical as a firearm and tactical instructor, said he sees several women running around Lake Zorinsky who could easily be targeted. He said they’re “in their own little world,” wearing headphones, looking intently at their phones and not paying attention to who is around them.
Sorys and Jeff Hunter from 88 Tactical, which trains civilians and law enforcement and military personnel, teamed up with Jorgenson and Red Dirt Running Company on Monday night to provide a self-defense clinic for about 20 runners.
“We want you to avoid trouble by being aware of your surroundings, but someone may sneak up on you,” Hunter said. “Bottom line, it’s dirty fighting.”
Sorys said the first thing you need to do is “get in your head something could happen to you.”
Self-Defense Moves to Help you Stay Safe while Running
If you can’t get away, here are some tips on how to physically protect yourself:
Be verbal: If the predator is approaching, yell and scream and draw attention to yourself and the situation.
Get physical: If the predator gets in your space, know the primary targets: eyes, nose, throat and groin.
The hammer fist: One hand is out in front pushing the attacker, while you strike down on his face, shoulder or side like a hammer with your other hand made into a fist. (Think the knife scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.”)
The heal palm strike: Use the heal palm of your hand to strike the nose in an upward motion.
The face mash: With your hand as a claw, strike the face of the attacker while using your nails to scratch at the eyes and face.
The chin jab: Touch your forearms together, heal palms together and push upwards into the chin and neck, breaking the attacker’s hold on you. This works well if you are shorter than the attacker.
A-frame kick: Your leg is a powerful weapon as you kick the groin area of the attacker.
To keep yourself from becoming a victim:
Listen: Use only one headphone.
Look: Notice who is around you.
Demeanor: Act confident, and look people in the eye as you pass them.
Plan: Avoid running alone, in the dark or in secluded areas.
Run: If you can escape, get away as fast as you can.