“It’s never going to happen to me”.
Famous last words that we are all used to hearing as a warning from others; a warning to never assume that we are immune to the possibility of whatever bad event they are talking about.
I don’t want to sound like a mother lecturing you with my finger wagging in your face (even though I am a mother…and I’m quite possibly about to lecture), but this topic is serious and very important: running with identification.
Because like it or not, a running emergency or accident very well could happen to you, despite taking all of the right precautions.
Serious question: if something were to happen to you while you were out for a run, how would you be identified? How would first responders know who you were, what your possible health concerns might be, or who in your family to contact if you were unable to speak for yourself?
I hate to sound so morbid, but it is one of those unfortunate situations that we truly don’t stop to consider until it is too late. (How is that for another horrible cliché saying?)
But instead of continuing this downer of a conversation, lets talk about what we CAN do to ensure we have proper identification on us at all times when running. Here are my suggestions:
1) Emergency contacts in your phone.
I list this one FIRST because I want you to know that it’s not necessarily the best option. Let’s face it: in this day and age we are pretty attached to our cell phones, and hardly ever leave home without them. Numerous times I’ve heard people say something along the lines of “don’t worry, I have my phone!” But a phone is no guarantee.
Listing “Emergency Contact” or “ICE” (in case of emergency) in your phone may be useful in allowing medical professionals to contact your family after an emergency. However, in an accident, there is no guarantee your phone doesn’t get lost, or break. Or maybe you have your phone password protected, preventing anyone from finding the ICE number. The point is, cell phones are not a great source of identifying a person. So yes, while they can be possibly be useful, they shouldn’t be relied on as your only source of identification.
2) Carry an actual ID card.
Drivers License, student ID, anything that will give a positive picture and identification. Carry it somewhere obvious, but somewhere safe where it won’t get lost. If you’d rather not carry an actual card, write your information, along with emergency contacts, on an index card and carry it in your running belt or the pocket of your water bottle (just for an example)
3) WEAR an ID.
The running and endurance community has been incredibly proactive about making it virtually effortless to wear an ID. Companies like Road ID, Yikes ID, and 1 Band ID have created ID tags that can be worn on your wrist, on your ankle, on your watch, or even on your shoe laces. These ID tags are obviously customizable, to include your information, your chosen emergency contact, as well as any possible allergies or medial conditions. Most of these items are under $20, making them an affordable, yet invaluable, investment.
In my opinion, wrist ID’s are your best option. Most first responders are trained to look for medial alert bracelets, which are typically worn on the wrist and contain vital health information for those with serious allergies or other medical conditions. While looking for that bracelet, they will stumble upon your ID tag, and voila, you’ve been identified.
4) Tattoo your information on your body.
I’m only kidding. Maybe. (No, I’m just kidding.)
So, now that you’ve read this article, I challenge…no, I implore you acquire some sort of identification to take with you on your next run (if you haven’t already. ) Because it’s better to be safe than sorry (morbid cliché #3).
And remember what your mother always told you: never leave home without clean, uhhh, running shorts and identification.