Light up the night: Staying safe when the sun goes down

Whether running is a daily routine or an activity just for fun, many students and adults do it to keep them in shape.

Sometimes runners  go out of their way to run in the dark early in the morning or later at night. They’re even crazy enough to run when it’s pouring rain or snowing outside.

This may be because the athletes are “running” under a tight schedule with school or work during the week. According to Hannah DeBalsi’16, “Runners can get really annoyed if they’re busy and don’t have time to fit a run during daylight.”

In any case, running in the dark can pose a danger.

“We try not to run when it’s dark, and we schedule our practices to end before darkness sets in,” Laddie Lawrence, boys’ cross country coach, said. “Obviously, the biggest problem is visibility, both for runners and drivers.”

As a result, drivers should drive slower than the normal speed limit to be careful of any runners who are too close to the road. Last year, in fact, a girls’ cross country runner was seriously injured when she was hit by a car, even though she ran with the team  in daylight hours.

“I’ve definitely had bad experiences with drivers, especially at night,” Peter Elkind’14 said. “For this reason,  I try to stay on the sidewalks and stay off the edge of the road.”

Kellen Smithson’14  came up with the solution that if it’s absolutely necessary to run in the dark, it’s imperative to wear bright colored clothing and bring a flashlight.

So here are some basic tips to follow: stay close to the sidewalk, wear bright clothing, don’t listen to music, be wary of your surroundings, run in well-lit areas, and maybe run with a friend to have some company.

“Remember that at all times, day or night, runners should always be ready to expect the unexpected,” Lawrence said. “Being safe should always be of the highest priority.”