The results of the National Women's Running Survey 2022 are in, shedding light on women's fears around safety while running
Every year, the National Women’s Running Survey highlights the experience of women runners, giving a voice to a community that can often be underrepresented. This year’s survey highlights several key points relating to women’s safety in the wake of some high-profile incidents of violence against women runners, including Team GB’s Sarah McDonald, sprinter Rhiannon Linington-Payne and school teacher Ashling Murphy.
3780 women completed the survey as a whole. 47% of respondents said that they had been shouted at or heckled while out running, which is considered verbal harassment. Further to this, almost 11% had been followed or intimidated whilst running. Sadly, 18% of those surveyed stated that they had considered stopping running altogether due to safety concerns.
All three of these key statistics had risen in comparison to the National Women’s Running Survey 2021, despite mainstream coverage of the the violence and harassment that women face across news outlets and social media sites last year.
When asked what they do, if anything, to make themselves feel safer while running, 1.3% of the 3772 women who answered this question said they did not run at all as a result of concerns for their personal safety. The most popular way to feel safer was adjusting running location, which over half of the women surveyed admitted to doing, followed closely by adjusting running timings (38%), choosing to run with other people and giving headphones a miss. Only 25% of women stated that they didn’t feel unsafe at all.
In a recent Samsung advert that has received some backlash, a woman is depicted running in a city late at night, alone and with her headphones in. Women’s Running editor Esther Newman spoke out about this, citing the statistics presented by the National Women’s Running Survey.
If you have been affected by violence, assault or harassment, here’s some advice on what steps to take next.