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Head Torches and Reflectives

By: Mike Kiely BA (hons) - Updated: 27 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Running Run Equipment Head Torches

With the long summer hours of daylight giving way to the first noticeable signs of autumn’s arrival, runners will be preparing themselves for the six months of the year when they are likely, either early morning or evening, to be negotiating one of their regular courses in the dark.

The time between sunset and sunrise throws up a number of issues, not least that of personal safety. Not only is there the possibility of an assault for motives such as robbery, but there is also the likely presence of traffic, whether that be in the form of motor vehicles, cycles or pedestrians.

So it is vitally important that runners not only maximise their field of vision in order to see approaching vehicles or villains, but also that they make themselves as visible as possible to alert others to their presence. Remember that even at the relatively slow speed that a runner will be moving, it nevertheless cuts down the time others have to react in order to avoid a collision. For elderly pedestrians in particular, a 14-stone man well into his stride pattern is a potentially lethal projectile should impact occur. So for your own safety and the safety of others, it is vital to invest in suitable gear.

Take each torch of a test run

Let’s start with the headtorch, a particularly useful piece of kit should you be running off road, where you have to be sure about where your foot will be landing to avoid a divot or other break in the surface that could result in injury. There are a number of models on the market, but before you buy, test out the unit for comfort. Take each torch for a test run to ensure that there is no perceptible wobble that may mean it will dislodge or distract you from the road ahead. Check the weight with the batteries fitted – if it feels too heavy, think about a model that includes a battery-belt worn around the waist, which serves as the source of power. It is also desirable that the unit be adjustable in terms of the direction of the light and the width of beam.

A great deal of visibility

Reflectives come in a number of shapes and sizes, the most obvious being the yellow nylon vests or bibs that are used by employees of highways agencies and emergency services. Not only are such vests easy to slip on over a top or weatherproof, but their location on the runner’s trunk means they provide a great deal of visibility. If you feel a full-body vest may inhibit your movement, opt for one of the models with cutaway sides which allow for more freedom of movement without compromising safety. A vest can be supplemented by, or substituted with, reflective armbands or anklebands, all of which are vital in providing ample warning of an approaching object i.e the runner moving at speed.

Gearing up for the dark nights ahead should not cost more than £100, and while that is not a small amount of money to most people, it represents a sound investment in insuring that both yourself and others are not at risk. Among other things, running is about peak performance and health. To ensure both, take the financial hit, safe in the knowledge it will be money very well spent.

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