Is Canberra safe to run after midnight?

blmft 7 January 2012 34

Hi,

I’ve moved to Canberra recently near the city centre. Due to the nature of my job (and the fact that I cannot get up before 5am…), I would like to go for a run at around 11pm / midnight.

I was considering running around Lake Burley Griffin but some parts of the lake do not seem to be lit up. Is it usually dangerous at night?

What about during weekends? FYI

I am a female of small build in early twenties.

Any other suggestions on safer routes? Thanks.


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34 Responses to Is Canberra safe to run after midnight?
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creative_canberran creative_canberran 10:41 pm 11 Jan 12

It “should” be safe but there’s no guarantees anymore, so it’s a good idea to carry a torch if you do decide to. You can get some brilliant ones online from brands like Surefire and Pelican which are specifically designed with a disabling centre beam… works great atop Mt Ainsle late at night.

dundle dundle 10:12 pm 11 Jan 12

Canberra is very safe. I don’t think I’ve heard of assaults around the lake. I have walked/run there as late as 11.30pm and I’m also a small young female, but I always had a guy with me. It seemed gone though. There are some very dark parts, however. The good thing about running is you can run away from people who might approach you. I have also walked alone in my suburb as late as 1pm and once a much longer walk, much later. I know girls who feel so safe in Canberra they are comfortable going wherever and others who won’t even go out alone after dark!

999 times out of 1000 you’d probably be fine, it’s up to you if you want to risk it. Nobody can really tell you how safe it is. Personally I’d go with someone to the lake or stick to my suburb alone. Good luck!

GYW GYW 6:34 pm 11 Jan 12

I wouldn’t do it around the lake either (or in the suburbs, for that matter), but can I suggest you try the outskirts of Parliament House. It is patrolled 24/7 by security and police, and I have often seen people exercising on my way out from work, often very late at night. It is also quite well lit.

Mumbucks Mumbucks 11:16 pm 08 Jan 12

Unless you are fond of hospital food I wouldn’t recommend it.

jackthemartin jackthemartin 10:16 pm 08 Jan 12

I have been running or cycling around the lake after 11pm at least once a week for the last three years, mainly between Commonwealth and Kings ave. bridges.

I know there are various parts of Canberra that can be dangerous, but around the lake at midnight I don’t see anyone that appears to be a threat to anyone of any age/sex. Also, as of recently, most the route is well lit.

The only people I occasionally see are:
– canoodling lovers
– other runners/cyclists
– staff leaving the restaurant near the flags;
– well dressed but slightly tipsy looking young people, presumably walking between south and northside nightspots
(i’ve seen more diverse–and perhaps more dangerous–types at earlier hours, but not after 11).

So I believe it to be relatively safe as far as running options in Canberra go (so much so that I don’t think that a head-torch, or running without earphones, are necessary, though they may be useful in getting to the lake from your start-end point).

Postalgeek Postalgeek 9:42 pm 08 Jan 12

If you do decide to go running around the lake at night, wear decent reflector apparel or lights.

Otherwise you’ll turn into a bike rack after the stroke of midnight.

Henry82 Henry82 9:17 pm 08 Jan 12

Merle said :

If you would like to get a sex change and probably have your legs surgically shortened (I’m pretty damn short) and go running alone at midnight, you are more than welcome to.

I’m not sure what your point is? Are you saying men can’t be assaulted?

toriness toriness 8:32 pm 08 Jan 12

all this talk about carloads of thugs. what about the vampires??

I-filed I-filed 6:50 pm 08 Jan 12

Definitely not during Summernats – seriously.

deye deye 6:41 pm 08 Jan 12

I forgot to say, in winter I run in the gym instead of outside as I have asthma and it acts up when running at night in the cold. So once the wheezing gets to a certain point I hit the treadmill where the air is warmer.

deye deye 6:39 pm 08 Jan 12

poetix said :

If I can be forgiven another comment, it strikes me as sad that this young woman has to plan her run like a military campaign. Or give up ona free run and pay for a gym. Or that I can’t just watch stars where I want without driving to where there is no possible other person who just might be a threat. I acknowledge the good intentions of some of those commenting who happen to be men, but the fact that people are two hundred centimetres tall and quick, and strong, or one hundred and sixty (or so) and slight or, like me, in between, but slow (and not slight at all) shouldn’t make a difference to our confidence in getting out to run or watch stars. And yet it does, for anyone on the wrong side of the ledger.

We still have a way to go, methinks. (Another example of stating the obvious in a pretty way.)

It’s not like running a military campaign, it’s common sense. I would give the same advice for running or walking to anyone, male or female, large or small. However everyone has their own level of risk that they are happy with and your build can play into that, which is why I mentioned my height. Height is mainly about others perceptions of yourself. I know people who are smaller than me that are faster, stronger or more vicious than I am, but most people when looking at them would think they are harmless. I take all the same precautions when going for a run, and carrying the same items can help with other things.

If I fall and break a leg when there is no one around I can use the mobile to call for help, I can use the light to signal where I am or to get attention if the mobile is out of range. I carry a backpack which I can use the straps from to splint my legs in case of a fall or in case of a snake bite. Keeping a watchful eye out helps to avoid snakes, other creatures, trip hazards, branches at eye level as well as anyone who may not have the best intent for myself. I have a poncho for if I get caught in heavy rain and carry extra water and a bit of chocolate in case I get stuck somewhere for a while. I do this whether it’s day or night. The main reason I restrict where I run at night is to minimize the risk of injury.

Although I do have ear buds in and listen to music it’s at a very low volume that lets me hear runners, walkers, vehicles, skaters, bikes and animals approaching from behind. The main reason to wear them is that a cold wind getting in my ears gives me headaches and vertigo, the secondary reason is to help with running rhythm.

As for the stars, the main reason to drive out of town is so you can see them properly as there is too much light around in town. However doing so gives you the option of avoiding other people if it makes you feel more comfortable.

Frankly the risk of attack is very low and in my opinion worrying about it and letting it stop you doing things you enjoy is the worst thing to do and only encourages those few people who are inclined to do stupid things because they can see the effect it has on people.

Merle Merle 4:33 pm 08 Jan 12

Henry82 said :

Merle said :

. I think it’s one of those situations where you’re fine right up until the day that you aren’t.

Just like driving, marriage, health, job security, etc etc

If you would like to get a sex change and probably have your legs surgically shortened (I’m pretty damn short) and go running alone at midnight, you are more than welcome to.

Henry82 Henry82 3:57 pm 08 Jan 12

Merle said :

. I think it’s one of those situations where you’re fine right up until the day that you aren’t.

Just like driving, marriage, health, job security, etc etc

Merle Merle 3:06 pm 08 Jan 12

As a short, slim female in my early twenties, I can tell you it’s not something I’d be doing. I think it’s one of those situations where you’re fine right up until the day that you aren’t.

Innovation Innovation 2:36 pm 08 Jan 12

Not sure where you have moved from so I’m not sure what you are comparing it with. It’s definitely safer than many parts of Sydney say.

As well as suggestions not to listen to music, carry a mobile phone and wear front and rear torches (so cyclists can see you and for you to see better in the poorer lit areas), I suggest you carry a $10-$15 panic/sound alarm also. Depending on where you live, you might also have a neighbour who would be very grateful if you took their large dog on the run with you.

EvanJames EvanJames 11:53 am 08 Jan 12

Agree, Poetix. This lady has her freedom to do something normal and unremarkable curtailed by a few possible predators, and she has to cower inside a smelly, noisy gym rather than a really nice run outside in our attractive environment.

Back in the 80s, the feminists at ANU made a rather powerful statement to this effect. There’d been some horrific attacks on campus, and so the university authorities were recommending that women didn’t walk alone after dark, didn’t walk between the libraries and halls of residence etc. Turning half of the population into virtual prisoners.

So the feminists printed up official-looking signs, titled “curfew on men”, stating that due to the violent attacks on campus, all men had to be indoors after dark and must not walk around on campus. They were very effective at getting the message across. And yet, in 2011 we are right where we were then.

bikhet bikhet 11:11 am 08 Jan 12

poetix said :

If I can be forgiven another comment, it strikes me as sad that this young woman has to plan her run like a military campaign. Or give up on a free run and pay for a gym. Or that I can’t just watch stars where I want without driving to where there is no possible other person who just might be a threat.

I agree, but that, unfortunately, is the way the world is. We may prefer that it was otherwise, and may work towards making it otherwise, but, as you say, we’ve got a way to go.

And, as plenty of topics on RA point out, being male, tall and fit isn’t always much protection against the mongrels that hunt in packs – and I say “that” deliberately as they don’t deserve “who.”

poetix poetix 12:18 am 08 Jan 12

If I can be forgiven another comment, it strikes me as sad that this young woman has to plan her run like a military campaign. Or give up ona free run and pay for a gym. Or that I can’t just watch stars where I want without driving to where there is no possible other person who just might be a threat. I acknowledge the good intentions of some of those commenting who happen to be men, but the fact that people are two hundred centimetres tall and quick, and strong, or one hundred and sixty (or so) and slight or, like me, in between, but slow (and not slight at all) shouldn’t make a difference to our confidence in getting out to run or watch stars. And yet it does, for anyone on the wrong side of the ledger.

We still have a way to go, methinks. (Another example of stating the obvious in a pretty way.)

SupaSal SupaSal 11:46 pm 07 Jan 12

I walk my dogs after work most nights (after 1am) and find that it is ok in the Belconnen area, although i do have a dog who attacks people if they approach at this time too – and the other barks. I walk/run with phone in pocket, not listening to music just the dogs and me panting. Give it a go with a friend a few random nights and see how it goes i say!
As other posters have said winter is colder I have to walk through a fog but 24hr gym does not help the dogs much.

Akipk Akipk 8:49 pm 07 Jan 12

The 5k bridge run is probably okay, but you really should be careful. I have run in the dark in winter (around 9 or 10pm) around Lake G in Belconnen, Yerrabi Pond (both are dark in places) and around the actual lake, and have been okay. If you can get to run a bit earlier, it is better, and there are some evening groups that you can join, including the Bilbys, where non members can pay around 2 -3 dollars a session to run in a group under lights at Dickson, and Geoff’s group, which is free and is open to anyone, no matter how fast or slow (see http://www.geoffmoore.blogspot.com) By contacting Geoff, he could also put a word out for you to find a running buddy. 🙂

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