The 7 Rules Of Trail Safety

We all love the freedom of trail running – there’s no traffic or pollution, no rules or restrictions. But in order to return home safely, we need to stay safe. Here’s how.


Linda Doke |

Stay Safe On Trails!

1. Let someone know where you’re planning to run and how long you expect to take. That way if you’re not back within a reasonable time, people will know where to start searching for you.

2. Carry a cell phone (with a fully-charged battery), and have emergency contact details on speed-dial for ease of use, together with your name, the emergency contact number of a person close to you, and important medical details.

3. Check out the weather conditions before you head out – particularly if you’re going running in the mountains. Preview the short- and long-range forecast for the area by using a weather app.

RELATED: 10 ‘Do-Before-You-Die’ Trail Runs!

4. Carry safety gear – at least a rain jacket (or wind jacket, depending on the season), emergency food and water, and a basic first aid kit.

5. Never run an unfamiliar route ‘blind’ – first, check with the locals about potential risks such as no-go areas and dangerous hazards, etc.

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6. If you find yourself off-course, try to backtrack to the last place you knew you were correct (e.g. a race marker or a specific landmark). Never continue on the same path, hoping you’ll eventually regain the right one.

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7. In the long run… strengthening your muscles prior to running on the trails will improve your chances of success when you’re out there. For example, gym work will prepare your ankles for tackling rugged terrain. It also pays to learn how to navigate, both with and without a map and compass.

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