Archive for safety

Designing a Safer Woman Project

Designing a Safer Woman

hers projects/runhers releases women’s safety guide

Oklahoma City based runhers, a women’s lifestyle association @hersprojects, is distributing electronic versions of its Designing a Safer Woman (DSW) Prevention Guide free of charge.  The awareness guide for women is the result of identifying a significant need for a more comprehensive, educational, prevention guide that can be used by community groups, law enforcement, and individuals alike.  The guide helps women design their own personal protection plan, based on their individual lifestyle.   

Link to the complete guide may be found at: DSW_Final_V1_Dec_2016

Managing Director of the hers projects Jeffrey Kidder states, “The DSW Project concept began here in OKC after several female runners were attacked.  After a lot of research and conversations around the country with many experts in their respective fields, we concluded that this fills a large gap of knowledge for women.” Kidder continues, “Ultimately, the solution for making girls and women safe is addressing men’s violence. Community leaders, educators, media makers, and the general public need to address this problem because too often, gender violence starts as early as elementary school as sexual harassment and escalates as male perpetrators age.  Ideally, we collectively must focus on designing a less violent man.  However, while we are addressing this issue, we need to help women learn ways to minimize the risk of attack to the extent we can and/or engaging in unhealthy relationships.”  Our project director Jessi Cargill host clinics and educational programs to groups, organizations and individuals. You can connect with Jessi and see her up to date posts on Facebook:

About hers projects/runhers® women’s association
We are a creative force that empowers women to discover, design and activate their version of a healthy and happy life.  We create partnerships and experiences that engage, entertain and inspire women everywhere.   By eliminating boundaries between cultures, organizations, disciplines and artistic expressions, our passionate people will create programs, products, entertainment and life solutions that engage the imagination and drive a new culture of wellness and health for women.

To connect, please visit us at or – twitter @runhers – email




Top 10 Holiday Safety Tips

by Jessi Cargill

Top 10 Holiday Safety Tips

Its that time of year: Shopping, parties, dinners, and traveling to see family & friends. Unfortunately, it also means a lot of opportunity for predators.

So here’s 10 ways you can keep you and your family safe this holiday season:)

1) Walk confidently and with purpose. Observe those around you. Assertive body language can help keep you out of the target pool.

2) Keep your head up. This is NOT the time to be on the phone texting, talking, checking off lists, or updating your status on social media. Distraction makes for easier targets.

3) Be wary of anyone approaching you in parking lots or any area slightly away from the bulk of the crowds.

4) There’s safety in numbers. So whether its shopping, a night out on the town, or traveling, go with a group when possible.

5) Don’t leave valuables (purses, tablets, wallets, gifts,etc) visible in the car while you are shopping. If you have to leave them, hide them before getting to the parking lot.

6) Park in well lit, high traffic areas. Avoid parking near anything that might limit visibility.

7) Carry only the credit cards and ID that you need. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Cards can be replaced, cash cannot. Also, be aware of what you’re wearing. Wearing big, or lots of ‘sparkly” jewelry may draw unwanted attention.

8) Keep doors locked and windows up & locked if you are sitting in your car waiting to pick someone up. (Also, still not a good time to be distracted by your phone. It can wait…go back to #2)

9) Do not post your travel plans on social media.

10) As always – be sure and trust your instincts. If you see or feel anything suspicious, there is a reason to pay attention to those feelings. Don’t be embarrassed to go back inside and ask someone to escort you to your car or to be loud (yell, scream, honk your horn) and draw attention to your situation.

#awareness #befearless #mysafetymyresponsibility #designingasaferwoman 

let’s talk street harassment. on twitter.

Have you ever been cat called while out running or in other public places?  Let’s chat about it.  Join us on February 5th at 12pm EST with Runner’s World Chief Running Officer and the Mayor of Running Bart Yasso; Runner’s World’s Zelle; Stop Street Harrassment’s Holly Kearl; along with freelance journalist and author of the upcoming book Running: A Love Story Jen A. Miller, whose article “Wearing Her #Whorepants” took social media by storm.

Most of you are familiar with Twitter Chats. If not, the way, here’s how it works: we will tweet the questions, and you can give us your stories, perspectives, thoughts and ideas on how we can all work together to address these important issues of street harassment, cat calling and other harassment and violence in public places. The hashtag we will Tweet with is #RWsafety

We’ve designed two Twitter chats on women’s safety and street harassment in the past year.  We’ve been blessed with wicked smart people who have supported and helped us in our work producing the document Designing a Safer Woman ( – and yes, we should come up with a better name for the project. It was our working project name for Version 1.  Maybe you can help retitle it for Version 2? 

We came across Holly Kearl in our research on street harassment, and she has been an inspiration and a passionate leader addressing these issues here in the U.S., and internationally.  Holly has her own story about being harassed while out running.  She has been instrumental in providing clarity and thought for our research at the hers projects.   You can learn more about Holly at, and you can also learn about her cutting edge work with Stop Street Harassment, which is helping women across the globe, at .It’s loaded with everything from definitions to research to projects and plenty of compelling articles and stories. 

Here is a link to Jen’s story “Wearing Her #Whorepants”:  Jen A. Miller has been a freelance journalist for the last 10 years, sticking with the work from home lifestyle because she likes running before lunch and working with her Jack Russell Terrier by her side. She’s a frequent contributor to Runner’s World, Running Times, Zelle, The New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer and her memoir, Running: A Love Story will be published by Seal Press in early 2016.

Please share this with men, women and any organizations you think have an interest.  We will compile all of the chat, and write a summary and action plan based on the information shared. 

#runhers #hersprojects

domestic abuse/unhealthy relationship/dating violence

Editor’s Note:
Our Designing a Safer Woman Guide is built to cover many issues relating to women’s safety. And it does cover some basics on domestic abuse and unhealthy relationships. This section is especially timely given all the attention in the media these past weeks on domestic abuse. We must continue to raise the bar, and the awareness on this issue that affects so many women. Violence against women is serious, even deadly. We must do all we can to support each other and find solutions within our communities. If you are part of an organization that deals with these issues, and have tips and/or resources you’d like to share, please contact us:

One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background.

Violence against women is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. What might have begun as an intense show of affection can quickly turn ugly if boundaries are intentionally crossed and you see the signs of abuse listed below.


  •        Checking your cell phone or email without your permission
  •        Constantly putting you down and making unflattering comments
  •        The presence of extreme jealousy and insecurity
  •        Anger control issues and explosive temper
  •        The process of isolating you from your family and friends
  •        Making false assumptions and accusations
  •        Wild mood swings and acting emotionally imbalanced
  •        Any physical abuse whatsoever
  •        Possessiveness and intimidation
  •        Telling you what to do, where to be, how to act, etc.


  •        They might use an Intrusion Test where the perpetrator subtly checks out your boundaries by physical proximity, comments or demands on your time and attention.
  •        They might use Desensitization Tactics.  You become accustomed to these intrusion tests, and no longer notice when your physical/social/emotional boundaries are crossed.
  •        They might use Isolation Tactic. The perpetrator isolates you, or waits for a situation where you’re isolated, to provide an opportunity for an assault/rape/attack.
  •        They may have frequent angry outbursts.  These outbursts are meant and intended to intimidate or control you.
  •        They ignore you or don’t believe you.  They keep testing and discounting your “NO.”
  •        They intrude or continue to intrude your personal space and are almost always too close or try inappropriate touching or other body contact.
  •        They frequently interrupt you and/or make intrusive or insensitive remarks, such as about your body, other women, etc.
  •        They use Forced Teaming which is making it seem like you have a mutual problem that you jointly have to resolve.
  •        They use Loan Sharking, which is doing you favors so you may feel like you owe him something or give him the benefit of the doubt.
  •        They use Typecasting which is calling you a name (snob/racist/lesbian, etc.) which they want you to try to disprove.  


tips for staying safe on the road in the dark

by: team runhers

With daylight savings time ending and the shorter days this time of year, it is important to think through and to have a plan for running or walking in low light situations.  You can enjoy winter outdoor running and walking, whether you choose to run early morning or late evening, by following these tips and using as much common sense as you can muster!  Enjoy the seasons and run with joy!

  • Understand and follow all your local traffic-safety laws.   Allow a minimum of three feet between you and any vehicle.
  • Always let someone know where you are running and when you can be expected back.    
  • Wear high visibility reflective clothing, a reflective safety vest or put some reflective strips on your outwear.  You can also wear a headlamp or carry a light to be better seen. 
  • Have some form of ID on you – and carry a cell phone if at all possible. 
  • Run in well-lit areas if possible and try to avoid heavy traffic areas, intersections and parking lots.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings and let your instincts guide you.  If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.   
  • Be prepared to jump onto the sidewalk or shoulder of the road.
  • Avoid wearing your head phones or ear buds. If you must have music, leave only one in your ear.
  • Face traffic. It’s easier to see oncoming traffic, as well as easier for them to see you.
  • Approach hills, turns and other blind spots with caution.  Assume that the driver(s) can’t see you and behave accordingly.
  • At a stop sign or light, wait for the driver to wave you through–then acknowledge with your own wave.
  • If you are running with friends, running in single file on roads may make the most sense. 

For more women’s safety, we have assembled a comprehensive women’s safety guide, Designing a Safer Woman, which you can view or download here:

Finally, here is a 2012 article on running in the dark, “Embrace the Dark Side” –

stalking awareness month

January 29, 2013

National Stalking Awareness Month

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma –

Note:  As January wraps up – we wanted to make this information available to you – with the hope that you will pass this on to others.

President Obama, earlier this month declared January National Stalking Awareness Month in 2013. He stated, “I call upon all Americans to recognize the signs of stalking, acknowledge stalking as a serious crime, and urge those impacted not to be afraid to speak out or ask for help. Let us also resolve to support victims and survivors, and to create communities that are secure and supportive for all Americans.”

January is National Stalking Awareness Month, a time to focus on a crime that affects 3.4 million victims a year.  This year’s theme is “Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.” We challenge the nation to fight this dangerous crime by learning more about it.  More info:

What is stalking?  While legal definitions of stalking vary from one jurisdiction to another, a good working definition of stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

Stalking is a crime in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, yet many victims and criminal justice professionals underestimate its seriousness and impact. In one of five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims, and stalking is one of the significant risk factors for femicide (homicide of women) in abusive relationships.  Victims suffer anxiety, social dysfunction, and severe depression at much higher rates than the general population, and many lose time from work or have to move as a result of their victimization.

Stalking is difficult to recognize, investigate, and prosecute. Unlike other crimes, stalking is not a single, easily identifiable crime but a series of acts, a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause that person fear. Stalking may take many forms, such as assaults, threats, vandalism, burglary, or animal abuse, as well as unwanted cards, calls, gifts, or visits. One in four victims reports that the stalker uses technology, such as computers, global positioning system devices, or hidden cameras, to track the victim’s daily activities.5 Stalkers fit no standard psychological profile, and many stalkers follow their victims from one jurisdiction to another, making it difficult for authorities to investigate and prosecute their crimes.

Stalking Fact Sheet:

Communities that understand stalking can support victims and combat the crime. 

For additional resources to help promote National Stalking Awareness Month, please visit and

About runhers® women’s association

runhers is a dynamic and creative women’s lifestyle association.  runhers is built on the belief that women must move to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle.  We produce lifestyle programs, trainings, creative forums and entertainment via amazing events. If you can imagine a better you, we can help you create it.  To engage more, please visit us at or and via Twitter @runhers – email

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running in the dark – embrace the dark side

Dang it!  It’s that time of year again – fall back on time!  We begin our march towards the shortest day of the year, the beginning of the winter solstice; which is December 21 this year.  That means that many of our runs will occur in the dark periods of the day.  As you might have guessed, most pedestrian accidents occur in the dark.  With some safety adjustments and some small reflective additions to make yourself seen in the dark – we can run as safely as possible and enjoy the winter season.  The rules of the road still apply.  Drivers are still crazy!  Now they just can’t see you as well.  Run against traffic if possible – and keep your head on a swivel.  We recommend you just lose the music on these dark runs, especially if you are alone.  It’s tough to do, but the right thing to do for your overall safety.    We posted a general women’s safety tip sheet recently here: – please read this and share with friends.  You might save someone’s life by getting them to think a little more about their own personal safety.

Along with all those great tips here are more for night running or walking:

  • Have a plan – just think about where you are planning to run and what hazards may be out there.  Think safety and always have your phone in case you need immediate help.  Anytime you question your personal safety – make that emergency call.   Be sure and carry some form of ID as well.
  • Run in well lighted areas if possible.  Before leaving check the weather for road or path conditions.  Is it slippery or snowy?  Many injuries occur when you are running in snow, where holes, cracks or other thing can send you crashing down in one step.  Try to use areas you are already familiar with.
  • Blinking lights and reflective wear.  There are many great choices out there for reflective wear, head lamps, small flashlights and attachable blinking lights.  Experiment with them at the store before purchasing or ask running friends what works best for them.  Safety experts say the goal is to get 360 degrees of reflectivity.
  • Obey all traffic laws and generally accepted rules of the road.  Be sure and signal to cars your intentions.
  • The last and best advice is to run with a running buddy or group.  There truly is safety in numbers.  But run smart as a group as well, keep looking out for each other – share paths and roads and be courteous.

We have to improvise all the time to make things work – and this is no different.  With a little thought and creativity – these winter mornings and nights can continue to add all the fabulous things we know getting out in the fresh air and moving does for us!   Run with joy ladies!

team runhers


designing a safer woman

Women’s Running & General Safety Tips

Please think about your personal safety before you run – have a strategy and a plan.  Not just for running, but for your daily lifestyle as well.  Arm yourself with knowledge on what predators are looking for; and how to make yourself less of a target.  While you can never completely protect yourself from sexual assault, there are things you can do to help reduce your risk of being assaulted.  Remember, sexual assaults, whether physical or verbal, are not your fault.

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way to get out of a bad situation.
  • Try to avoid isolated areas. It is more difficult to get help if no one is around.
  • Walk or Run with purpose.  Even if you don’t know where you are going, act like you do.
  • Trust your instincts.  If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn’t the best place to be.  We cannot emphasize this enough.
  • Try not to load yourself down with packages or bags as this can make you appear more vulnerable.
  • Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged and that you have cab money.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don’t trust or someone you don’t know.
  • Don’t run with your music/ iPod.  If you must however, avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are running or walking alone.
  • Run with friends or in areas where other runners, walkers and bikers frequent. 
  • Consider joining a running club.  Many running clubs offer connections and they know the safer areas, roads and trails in the local community.  If you are traveling, contact the local running club for advice for that town.
  • Let loved ones or other people know your running route and how long you are going to be gone.  Checking back in with them when you’re done.
  • If you are being followed while running, run to any public area, if possible, and call 911.  Never be afraid to call 911 to report suspicious activity.  It could save your life.
  • Run with your dog – they are known to be effective deterrents.
  • If possible, change running routes often enough.  Stalking is a serious issue, so change it up.
  • Before purchasing any self-defense product like pepper sprays – please make sure you thoroughly understand the products, are trained in the product use and know the product’s limitations.  The same logic goes for technology, emergency apps and GPS tracking.  Road ID and other similar products are good for identification/medical history.  Always be realistic and use your common sense.

Special thanks to and for your support/resources

2012 all rights reserved

running events – ‘buyer beware’ tips

team runhers note:  We were poised to do a similar article about this very issue.  Important information you need to know when selecting your next race!   We are thankful our friend Jean Knaack and the Road Runner’s Club of America (RRCA) stepped up.  Jean consulted with her board to put together this article.  They are a very experienced group.  Most of the small events you are running are very unsafe – they don’t have any experience, along with no emergency or contingency plan, putting you and fellow runners at high risk.  We are surprised the cities have even issued these people special event permits!   There are many other things to be on the lookout for that can really spell trouble and ruin your race experience.  We’ve seen as many as three, four and even five 5K’s being run on the same morning – none of them with any road race management experience whatsoever.  We’ve seen larger events come in to cities and do the ‘money grab’ – leaving town with no regard for the local community or the non-profit they claimed to be helping.  We know of a ‘new’ 5K in September in Edmond, Oklahoma, that ‘borrowed’ another organization’s event theme and now call it their own.  So, please read Jean’s article, it will help you understand how experienced race directors manage their running events and festivals.  It will also help you select running festivals/events that will offer you the best running experience in a safe environment. Run with Joy! 

By: Jean Knaack and RRCA Board of Directors

As the popularity of running continues to grow, so do the number of events held each year around the country. This is a good thing for our sport; however, as with all growth industries, there are inevitably going to be a few bad apples that spoil a barrel, as the old saying goes. The RRCA has worked for 54 years to promote safe and enjoyable events for runners, and there is nothing more frustrating than hearing stories about race promoters who sell entry fees only to cancel the race with minimal notice, provide no refunds, and give only vague excuses or false information as to why the event was canceled or postponed. We aren’t talking about races that are canceled or postponed due to emergency weather conditions, acts of God, or other emergencies on or near the course. Bad weather and accidents happen and are completely out of a race director’s control. We are referring to races that are canceled or postponed because the event owners haven’t done due diligence in the organization of their event, and the runner is the one who loses in the end. As more events are launched, the RRCA board of directors offers the following advice to help runners intelligently choose events, especially if you’re looking for a great out-of town event to run that also happens to be a new event.  

  • Look for events that have been run before. If an event boasts anywhere from 3–30+ years’ running, there’s a good chance the race will go off as promoted.
  • Look for events that are USA Track & Field certified courses. You should be able to find the certification number for the course on the event website. The best place to look is at the bottom of the site or in the course information section for the event. Certified courses show that the event director has taken the required steps to ensure the course has been accurately measured, and that the event director is taking seriously their duties to host an accurate event distance. 
  • Look to see if the local running club hosts the event or if the event director has a local address or phone number listed. Events managed by someone who lives in the community where the event is taking place usually have a good track record for going off as planned. If the race is promoted by an unfamiliar promoter or an out-of-state company, Google the company or promoter. Do they have positive comments from other races they have directed? If not, “buyer beware” certainly applies. For example, one national event promoter tried to cram 20,000 runners, against local expert advice, into a venue that clearly was only suitable for 5,000 runners. The comments on social networks and in the local paper were not positive. 
  • If the race is an inaugural race, closely review the race website. Does it post all relevant race information in an easy-to-find format? Events that are missing important information—course maps, packet pick-up information, event schedules, event rules (including refund information), award information, race director contact information, etc.—should be considered suspect. A well thought-out race should include a well thought-out website or at least a detailed registration page. Websites with limited event information should be suspect, especially if the race promoter is trying to attract out-of-town runners.
  • Look for safety information on the website or in the waiver of liability. Does the website outline expected weather conditions and road conditions on race day? Does the waiver contain information specific to the event, the course conditions, the event director, and the event sponsors? If not, think twice before registering for the event. Including specific conditions related to the course and local weather information can mean there’s a good chance the event director is at least familiar with the area and the course. V
  • Use your networks when researching out-of-town races. Read race reviews on websites such as the Running Network, Marathonguide.Com, Runner’s World, Let’s Run, etc. If the race has a Facebook page, check it to read what other runners have said about prior races and/or are saying about the upcoming race. Negative comments are a red flag. Also check the Facebook page of area running clubs for local feedback. And check in with the Better Business Bureau to determine whether the race promoter has been the subject of complaints in connection with other races. 
  • Look for signs of community support for the race on the event website. Determine whether the race has designated a local charity as the event beneficiary. Does the event organizer or promoter note how much they plan to donate to the charity or how much they have given in the past? Think twice about an event that simply says, “Proceeds go to charity” without naming a specific charity partner(s). Does the event outline how donations can be made directly to the charity partner? Has the race partnered with the local parks & rec department, local running club, local Y, local sports commission, etc.? Are local merchants on board supporting the event? A quick review to see if an outside promoter has community support can be an indication that the event will most likely take place because of a joint vested interest in the success of the event. 
  • Look for price gouging, especially with new events. The national average is $25–30 for a 5K, $35–40 for a 10K, $45–60 for a half marathon, and $60–100 for a marathon. Certainly location can dictate pricing, especially in larger cities with significant road closures and police support. If the event price greatly exceeds these averages, especially for a first-time, unproven event, ask yourself, “What am I getting for my money?” For events with high price tags, you’re better off to seek out events with a proven track record of performance or, better yet, find a great local road race with a proven track record for a fraction of the price.