Over a third of British female runners harrassed when running alone
Latest research from England Athletics reveals that over a third of British female runners have received some form of harassment whilst running on their own.
The poll of 2,000 members of the This Girl Can Run Community also revealed that a large proportion of women (over 60 per cent) feel anxious when running alone, with nearly half of those surveyed stating that it is due to personal safety concerns that they have such fears. Of those who had experienced harassment, shouting and car horns beeped by passing motorists were the most common.
Despite these findings, most of the women surveyed insisted that they would not be put off running altogether, with over half of women (56 per cent) saying that running with others would make them feel safer. Further insight of over 7,000 runners, by England Athletics throughout 2016, found that those that only run on their own are 25% less likely to be regular runners than those running in a group.
The research was commissioned ahead of today’s launch of RunTogether, a national programme from England Athletics to get more people running regularly and enjoying the mental and physical health benefits this brings.
The RunTogether website provides instant access to a rapidly growing network of over 700 local running groups which offer fun, organised jogs/runs with other people, led by qualified group leaders. The structured sessions, with warm ups and cool down help to reduce injury and cater for all running levels, whether you’re starting with your first a walk-jog or training for a marathon.
Sam Mollaghan, the current face of the This Girl Can Run campaign and a qualified Run Leader says:“When I started running a couple of years ago, I was a little self-conscious about how others would perceive me, luckily I was able to overcome my worries, so I completely empathise with how many runners feel anxious when running alone. Now I’m a Run Leader, I’m able to help others to enjoy the benefits that regular running in a group has to offer – it’s such a great way to improve fitness and socialise at the same time. I’m also more confident when I run, as I know I’m doing something that benefits my health and mindset. I’ve made some great friends in running groups and would encourage as many people to join their local group.”
Commenting on the findings, Matt Birkett, Head of Running Participation at England Athletics, said: “We are constantly examining why people choose to run or not, and it was shocking to find out that such a large proportion of the women surveyed have had an unpleasant experience when running alone. We understand that personal safety is a concern to many, which is why we offer over 700 RunTogether groups across the country, providing a reliable, safe and friendly environment in which people can enjoy the benefits of running with others.
“We know that running with others is more effective in changing behaviour, making people more likely to sustain a running habit and we know how much of an impact that running has upon improving emotional health and well-being. We want to get 1 million more people into regular athletics and running by 2020 and ensure that everyone in England has access to a local RunTogether group across the country.”
Visit http://www.runtogether.co.uk for more information and to find your local RunTogether group.