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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Don’t Rely on a Candy Bar: Why Women Runners Should Carry a Weapon

Contributed by Kelly Curtis

When I saw the white Suburban, I knew it was a mistake crossing the last road and continuing south on the railroad tracks. Still, the evening’s golden light across the alfalfa fields, the purple sky, and the fresh air beckoned me. I was in a new town, still learning the streets and the best places to run, and trying to avoid the California desert’s mid-day heat. 
I gave a curt wave to the men in the SUV and wondered if men get irritated with women who dismiss them without so much as a glance. I double-checked they continued to fly down the road away from me. I plowed forward on the tracks, determined to work off two candy bars from earlier in the day.  
It wasn’t twenty yards later when my skin began to tingle. Call it intuition. If those men turned around and drove the tracks, they could catch me in seconds. I didn’t want to cross the road where I’d last seen them, so I took my knife from my bra and gripped it tight, something I do when I see cougar tracks back home. I picked up the pace too. I would finish the mile of tracks, get to the highway, and make it home. Something told me to have a plan, so I decided if they came down the tracks, I would duck through the barbwire into the field where they would have to pursue me on foot.
Probably thanks to the candy bars, the run was going well. I felt fast and energetic. The sun disappeared behind the horizon and I let my mind wander. I thought about writing the next chapter of my novel. I thought about my friend whose lovable baby has entered the terrible-twos. I thought about my bad decision to run so late in the day. I was isolated by fields. It was a good half-mile to help in either direction. I didn’t know my cross streets and no one was waiting for me at home. 
I was halfway to the highway, clipping at an even pace, when I saw the white Suburban. The men had come for me. My intuition was right. 
For a long time, I was reluctant to carry a phone while running, but several months ago, I succumbed to my husband’s pleadings. I thought about calling him in Colorado, but as the men turned up the tracks, and dust spun up from the Suburban’s tires, I knew there was no time. I ducked through the barbed wire and dialed 911.
They must have seen me go through the fence, because they turned, headed parallel to the field, and made another attempt to cut me off. I went back out to the tracks and ran. Between breaths, the best I could tell the dispatcher was that I was just south of town, on the tracks, east of the highway, running away from a mobile home park. 
It must have been somewhere in there that I dropped my knife. I was home before I realized I hadn’t put it back in my bra. Two men were chasing me in a truck and the best lifeline I had was my phone and however fast those candy bars would let me run. 
The 911 dispatcher sent out two police and kept me on the phone. When I approached the road where I’d first seen the men, I saw a white SUV waiting by the tracks. It might have been the police, but at the time I was sure the men had parked and were waiting for me. The dispatcher told me to go to the road to meet the police, but I hadn’t seen any lights or heard any sirens and she couldn’t confirm it was police at the tracks. 
I dropped into a willowy bush and crawled again through the barbed wire into the field. From the watery ditch, I saw the first police cruiser, a quarter-mile away, at the mobile home park. I ran through the alfalfa, toward the officer and took my chances of being hit by rifle-fire. Truth was, I didn’t think the men were that motivated. They saw the easy prey I’d allowed myself to become and didn’t pursue beyond that. 
By the time I met the police, the men were gone. I gave the police a brief report and ran home, soaked and muddy in torn clothes. A few cuts in my skin ached from the barbed wire. The police followed and ensured I made it home. They patrolled my street a few times that night. I felt blessed to be alive, not still out in that field, not another statistic.
Scenes from that evening and its other possible outcomes haunted me all night. At 9:00 the next morning, I went to my local Sherriff’s office and applied for a concealed carry permit. 
Three days since being chased, I’m back out on the road. I can’t give it up. I can be smarter about it. I can run in the morning or with a partner. I need to learn the roads and tell people where I’m going, but I won’t stop going. If I’m smart enough and lucky enough, I’ll never have to draw a weapon, but I refuse to rely on luck any longer. If I do draw, it’s my right to being a healthy, happy woman that I’ll defend. 

TWAW notes on holsters:

There are a few good holster options for runners/athletes - Take a look at the following possible options:
Pistol Wear Under Arm
Pistol Wear Sport
TWAW Belly Bands
TWAW Ankle holster
Pistol Pouch by Thunderwear
Compression Shorts/Tank Top with holster

Click here to visit the Holster Page


  1. I am also a runner and have a CCL and a gun. I have always wanted to start running with my gun, which I always carry, except when I run. It's bulky and heavy and it shows underneath tight running clothes. I have no problem carrying this gun (Glock 27) with normal clothes in a flashbang holster. I have a pretty small frame with a large chest. It's next to impossible to find loose running clothes. What carries are recommended for female runners? I really don't want to get a different gun either since I have the one I have because I have larger hands and small guns hurt them when fired. I guess what I am asking is what positions should I consider for carrying my gun while running? Any special holsters?

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  3. I use my ankle holster on my upper arm when I run. Easy access and it isn't flopping or annoying like it would be on my waist or in my bra.

  4. I train for half and full marathons by myself. I often run secluded trails or back roads. I carry a Sig P290 when I run in a Pistol Wear holster. I wear the holster over my shirt but under my fuel belt with the gun behind my back. The gun doesn't print, and it is easy to get to. The holster looks like another part of my running gear. No one has noticed it, or commented on it, and I've been running with it like this all summer. It took some getting used to, but now I feel strange without it, even when I race. On the weekends, I'll run for hours and I can hardly tell my gun is there.

    Aside from carrying my gun, there are other things that I do to keep safe. I usually leave for my training runs way before my husband gets up in the morning, so I leave him a note telling him where I'm going, what I'm wearing, when I'll be back, and when I should hit my halfway mark. I send him a text when I hit the halfway mark so he has an idea of where I am in my run. I'm also an asthmatic, so I wear a Road ID with contact information and medical information in case something were to happen to me. You may call me paranoid, but doing these things has really put my mind, and my family's mind at ease when I'm out for hours alone.

  5. Hi, I have been a runner for over 30 years and have carried a small S&W .38 special. Now I have switched to the Ruger LRC . 38 and love it. Its very light, practical, and surprisingly accurate. Its not a lot of fun to shoot, but the hope is I never have to shoot it and I do practice with it from time to time with light rounds. Awesome running gun.

  6. I just recently bought a Ruger SR22 that I am spot on accurate with but am having finding a holster that works for me. I have a small frame of 120 pounds being 5'2". Would a belly band be a good option for me?

    1. Sounds like you got the right gun for yourself. That's wonderful!! The Well Armed Woman 4" woman's belly band would be a great choice for you.

  7. Hi Carrie,
    I'm new to your website and am grateful for this post! I have been a runner for almost my entire life. (Sadly, I bet most female runners have had scary situations like yours. I've certainly had some that led to some unplanned sprint work.) I also live in Chicago. Now that the 2nd amendment actually applies here, I'm going to research learning how to use and purchase a gun, including concealed carry (the S&W Bodyguard .380 is on my radar, but I'm open to suggestions!). I mainly am interested due to a few concerning situations that have arisen while out with my kids. However, carrying while running has been on my mind too. I have a pepper foam that my sister (a cop) gave me, but still... Anyway, I just wanted to leave a comment on this post because it's as though you read my mind! I run on the Lakefront in the summer. While I don't know that I would actually carry while running, I'd love to at least know my best options. So many thanks to you and to others who have commented for all of the insights!
    -Urban Mom

  8. Sounds like you learned from your mistakes. Glad to see the story had a happy ending.

  9. Check out

    This holster is perfect for running. It's a beautiful universal holster that was designed specifically for women!

  10. The Kimber pepper blaster is a good idea in Illinois. We do not have CC in Illinois yet, but I have a small holster to carry a pepper blaster and a small baton. Road Runner Clubs of America says to always carry a phone and never use ear buds/headphones for music.

    In more rural suburbs, coyotes are becoming a problem.
    Run strong and always be aware of your surroundings.

  11. Have a very good firearms tanning blog. I really appreciate you for this good work keeps it up. You can also find a very good blog at Boston Firearms Training Center.

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