Her name is Amy Robbins, and she'll never forget what happened to her while she was out for a run by herself in 2015. Like many of you, running was a normal part of her routine, and she felt safe on a route that was familiar to her. Then her situation quickly changed, Amy tells us what happened.
"I was followed and harassed by a van full of seven men with no way to defend myself. It was the usual catcalls and harassing comments, but what really scared me was when they got to the end of the road, they turned around and came back to do it again. I had my "A-ha moment" when I realized that there was going to be nothing I could do to take on seven men if the catcalls escalated to something more. Luckily, my story ended there, but for so many women, they don't get out of a situation like that unharmed. It was that moment I made the decision I would never be defenseless again..."
According to a survey conducted by Runner's World, while running alone 43% of women reported being harassed, 30% followed, 18% propositioned, and 3% reported being physically assaulted.
What can be done? How can things improve? How do you stay safer while running? We can help guide you through several options for running safety.
For Amy, she decided to get her license to carry a handgun in her home state of Texas, and started carrying a self-defense tool on her runs. But she soon realized she had a big problem. She could not find an easy way to carry her self- defense tool on her body while she was running. Amy thought about how to stay safe while running. Amy decided to take action, and created a women's running safety option for herself and for other women in a similar situation.
ALEXO ATHLETICA IS BORN
Alexo Athletica is a company that specializes in offering fitness wear that also allows you to easily carry personal protection devices. Amy is the CEO and co-founder, she and her husband run the company. Amy says in Greek, Alexo means "to defend and to help."
SAFETY TIPS WHEN RUNNING ALONE
As Amy can attest, it is important that you know how to stay safe while running. These running safety tips will give you the confidence you need to continue training in any situation.
- Carry a personal safety device. The palm stun device from Mace® Brand is a perfect fit for runners. It's not much bigger than a set of car keys, and you can hold it in the palm of your hand. Just flip a switch and squeeze with your middle finger to make the stun device active. This device is light, but still packs a powerful charge if you need it.
- Keep the volume down. If you're listening to music or a podcast, keep it at at low volume or only use one earbud to help you stay aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Wear bright, reflective clothing. This will allow you to be seen by passing cars and bystanders, and attract attention should a situation arise.
- Plan your route. Know where you're going ahead of time, and stay in an area you're familiar with. If possible, share your route with a family member or friend.
What is Amy's advice when it comes to personal safety?
"My advice is that being self-reliant is the most empowering thing we can do for ourselves. Being equipped with a strong mind, body and set of skills to take care of ourselves is freeing knowing you don't have to rely on someone else to save or protect you. When we are armed with these 3 components and situationally aware in our lives we can begin to walk in confidence knowing we can take care whatever life throws our way."
We also asked Amy to tell us more about that feeling of empowerment and peace of mind that comes with carrying personal protection.
"Carrying personal protection absolutely gives me peace of mind. Some people think that those of us that carry self-defense tools must be paranoid, but I say we are prepared and it is that preparation that gives us peace of mind. It's no different that carrying a spare tire in your car. It's there if we need it and that gives us peace of mind knowing you're going to be ok if you get into a situation that was unexpected."
When it comes to non-lethal person protection, what are some of Amy's favorites?
"I am a fan of many Mace® products. There are many people, especially women, that aren't comfortable carrying a firearm or other lethal protection yet, so I am very thankful there are strong options such as pepper sprays and gels that can be easily concealed and slow down a threat. I've always been a big proponent for women to find what they are comfortable with, train with it and then make sure to carry it with them at all time."
At Mace® Brand we believe in the power of being prepared. We strive each day to provide community and family safety through individual empowerment. It's a mission we take seriously.
We asked Amy to tell us more about Alexo Athletica, and the movement she's created.
"My mission with Alexo was always to set out to create a brand that was for all women (and now men as we move into an expanded offering) that would give them apparel that not only provided practical, functional, fashionable activewear, but would create a community of people that were on a journey to be more self-reliant. There are millions of us on this journey and we wanted to create the go-to brand that represents that lifestyle by providing the clothing options that allow you to express your self-reliance how you choose especially when it comes to your personal protection and active lifestyle."
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