Running fever has hit India like never before. But how safe are runners on roads and in parks?
A month ago, I got a frantic call from a patient who is a very passionate runner. On a beautiful Sunday morning in Delhi, while running inside the Jahanpanah City Forest, Greater Kailash-II, he had been attacked by two men. He suffered multiple stab wounds, but was fortunately able to fight off the robbers. He called me to ask if he would be able to run again.
This man had run in the Jahanpanah City Forest area hundreds of times before and had never felt any threat. He says: “It seemed the attackers were lying in wait for any random person to walk by—they had masks and a foot-long knife. This was a planned street crime.”
After the unfortunate incident, this runner has some tips for other runners. “The man with the knife thought he would surprise me from behind since I was running with headphones on my ears. But I am very conscious of maintaining situational awareness when I run. I keep the volume at a minimum. It’s probably this habit that saved my life. So, keep music turned as low as possible while running.”
Shantanu Singh, a runner from Bangalore, adds: “Your ears play the role of rear-view mirrors. Never block them by listening to music.” The runner from Delhi goes on to say: “Don’t expect help from bystanders. We all hate to say this, but we know it’s true. Although I was bleeding profusely, two old gentlemen who I saw right after the assault refused to let me even use their phone. Surprisingly the police were prompt and polite, and drove me to the hospital. Know first-aid and be ready to take care of yourself.”
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