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Speedo Says...

Date 12-04-2017
Drowning prevention safety tips for runners and walkers

Get your outdoor fitness fix and stay safe and dry with the Royal Life Saving Society’s tips and advice for runners and walkers.

Every season of the year provides new and special times for us outdoor enthusiasts. From invigorating hikes in the countryside to scenic canal-side runs on crisp frosty mornings, fresh air can be as good for the mind as it is for the body. Which is why we’re teaming up with our friends at the drowning prevention charity, the RLSS, to highlight how to stay safe and dry around water during your outdoor adventures.

Why runners and walkers?

We love swimming, but our passion for keeping you safe in water goes way beyond planned pool swims. Not sure how this relates to your running or walking? We hear you. But you might be surprised to learn that 40% of people that drown in the UK never actually intend to get in the water. These are runners and walkers who slipped, tripped or fell while getting their outdoor fitness fix.

Together with drowning prevention charity, the RLSS, we want to help you stay safe and avoid water accidents, whether you’re running, walking or even ambling home from the pub.

Here’s how to minimise the danger while you maximise your outdoor fun:

1. Avoid riverbank photo opportunities

Tempted to balance on the riverbank edge to capture the beauty of a misty morning run or the mirror-like lake surface during that frosty dawn hike? It’s not worth it, says Di Steer of the RLSS, who knows that bank edges pose a serious drowning risk: “They’re often unstable and this can create slips, trips and falls.” Bottom line? Avoid bank edges and take your Instagram-worthy photo a safe distance from the water.

2. Run or walk with a friend

Here at Speedo we always recommend safety in numbers for outdoor swims, and the same applies to running and walking near open water. Take a friend – it’s twice the fun (and motivation), plus you’ll have someone to help you, and vice versa, if you do get into any difficulty.

3. Be aware of your surroundings

Whether you’re walking with family (or just the dog), ambling back from a night out or running with a group of friends, “Stay extra vigilant next to bodies of water,” says Di. This means heeding signs and being sensible – if there’s ice, avoid getting close to the water, and if waterside paths are closed, pick another route.

4. Let someone know where you are

Chances are, if you’re a runner you already know this safety drill but it’s worth reiterating. A simple text could be all you need to send to a friend or family member – and always take your mobile phone with you.

5. Learn to swim!

Fact: learning to swim is a drowning prevention skill that could save your life, and the lives of your family and friends. Plus it’s a big confidence booster. And did we also mention that it makes a mean addition to your fitness arsenal? Cardio and strength in one go? Tick. (Check out our other blog posts for proof!)

In the UK, 321 people died in accidental drownings in 2015* with the majority of those who died never having intended to enter the water. So stay safe, arm yourself with our water safety tips and go hit those trails!

For more information on water safety, read our Speedo water safety features here, or visit the drowning prevention charity website for the Royal Life Saving Society at

*Figures from the National Water Safety Forum