Friday, April 13, 2018

I Never Had a Security Team Protect Me On Adventure Runs

Over the past 12 years since I ran across America all alone, I've been asked many times (usually by people who find my website and want to try a similar run) what I carried to protect myself from either aggressive animals or people. When I ran solo across Germany (making stops along the way at K-12 U.S. Department of Defense schools on military bases to give presentations), I was asked by one concerned person if I would have a security team traveling with me! Humorously, there actually exists a protection company named "Staso Protect" (no relation!). However, I never had my own security team while running across states and countries. What did I have for protection as I did my adventure runs? Pepper spray and a 2½-foot hickory axe handle -- no axe head, just the handle!

There have certainly been those who have run across the United States with support teams -- with some team members' roles being to protect the runner. Usually, these are high-profile crossings aiming to break a record or being done by a well known ultra-endurance athlete. My mega-mileage border-to-border and ocean-to-ocean runs all alone were not for records and were not highly publicized. I never used my pepper spray and actually only used my hickory axe handle once, and that was during my 500-mile run through Alaska when a wild, highly-aggressive, large dog seemed determine to have one of my legs for lunch. I never 'hit' the dog with the handle, but did have to push him away with it as his sharp teeth kept lunging at me.

I never carried any other protection with me on my adventure runs. I can tell you that there once was a time when the support stroller I pushed truly protected me. During my run across America I was suddenly engulfed in a storm while in the Great Plains that began to drop quarter-size hail. I had no place to take shelter and there were no cars in the area. As the painful hail started to impact me, the only idea I had was to lay the support stroller on top of my body to protect me. I flipped the stroller over and slid under it, listening to the hail pound against the frame of the stroller. I stayed curled up under the stroller until the hail subsided, and then crawled out -- thankful that I was able to keep from being injured. Aside from that, there were some occasions when the support stroller acted as a 'buffer' between me and dogs. So, my only sources of "protection" that accompanied me were pepper spray, an axe handle, and the support stroller.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com