Gear Review: Staying safe with SABRE products made for athletes

Disclaimer: I received the SABRE Runner Defense Spray, Duathlete Pepper Gel and Personal Alarm to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find and write race reviews!

I’m not the most intimidating-looking person out there. Hopefully, with the SABRE products I’ve been testing for BibRave, I can up my intimidation level to any potential attacker, and create an opportunity to get away. 

Here I am holding my Runner Defense Spray with my BibRave Orange nails. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

You may have heard of terrifying situations of runners getting murdered, such as Mollie Tibbetts earlier this year. Thankfully, these cases are rare — they are the kind of thing that make the national news — and although I have encountered loose dogs that made me uncomfortable, I’ve never found myself in a super scary situation while running. 

However, it never hurts to be prepared in case something does happen. 

SABRE Runner Defense Spray

I have taken the SABRE Runner Defense Spray on a few runs recently, and it’s made me feel much safer about running in remote areas alone. I still really enjoy doing group runs, and I’m not going to seek out remote areas just because I can. However, it’s nice to have a tool in case I need it. And, while remote areas may feel more unsettling, attacks can be possible anywhere, so it’s important to be alert and prepared.

Here I am at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge holding the SABRE defense spray. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

Two of the more remote places that I ran with my spray — which is a three-in-one spray that includes pepper spray, CS tear gas and UV marking dye — were Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and Trap Pond State Park. I have also brought my products on runs in Salisbury, including Eastern Shore Running Club group runs, which are done with others in a highly-trafficked area around the Salisbury University college campus. 

The spray is specially made for runners, and the adjustable hand strap makes it easy to carry on the run. I had a pepper spray years ago that I ran with maybe a few times after I had someone contact me at my former newspaper job, but it didn’t have the hand strap, so I really had to grip the spray. 

Here I am at Trap Pond State Park holding my SABRE runner defense spray and wearing the personal alarm.

With the pepper spray that I’ve been testing recently, I can easily grip the spray, but I don’t have to have a tight grip on it to be able to run with it. There was never any danger of accidentally releasing the spray, because I would have to move the red latch over and then push down.

When I did run with a water bottle in one hand and my phone and the spray in the other hand, the latch moved a few times because of the phone, but there still was no danger of it spraying. Next time, I’d probably put my phone in a pouch if I were going to bring all of those items again. 

I did notice my hand getting a little sweaty one day with it, but it certainly is not an inconvenience to run with. 

I have actually been a little scared to try the spray because of how potent it is — and it was very windy one day — but the website says there’s a 10-foot range. I’m confident that I would be able to use it in an emergency. 

Learn more about the defense spray and see videos here. The spray is $12.99 and in addition to the black version I have, it’s also available in pink.

Duathlete Pepper Gel

Primarily, I’ve been running with the handheld spray, but yesterday, I took the Duathlete Pepper Gel With Adjustable Arm Band on my run. I put the velcro arm band around my left arm and stuck the gel onto it using velcro. Although I felt the band slipping a few times, it was easily adjustable. It seemed to stay on better when I made it tighter. 

The pepper gel, which was only attached to the band with velcro, stayed on for an entire run of about 3.5 miles. If I were to need it, I could easily pull it off to use it. There is also a reflective strip along the gel canister. 

Here I am wearing the duathlete pepper gel before wearing it to the Eastern Shore Running Club group run. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

The gel retails for $17.99.

Personal Alarm

The other item I received, which I’ve run with a few times, is the Personal Alarm With Clip and LED Light. This one I did test. After taking off a tab by the battery to activate it — I had to use a small screwdriver to get to it — I accidentally hit the sound button when I meant to hit the light. This is totally my fault, as they are marked. But wow — it was loud! I turned it off right away. 

I definitely think the alarm would startle a potential attacker, because it startled me! People in the area would also hear it — the website says it can be heard 600 feet away. I figure it could possibly help with warding off an aggressive dog, too. 

I have been clipping the personal alarm to my running bottoms. I’ve barely noticed it when wearing it with pants or capris. I noticed it more when I wore shorts, but it was still no trouble to use, and very lightweight. I also never accidentally hit the button while running — I think that would be hard to do. 

The alarm is $14.99. I have it in black, but it also comes in pink. 

From left are the SABRE duathlete pepper gel, the personal alarm and the runner defense spray. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

Although I hope I never really need to use these items, I do feel safer knowing that I have something to protect myself. 

Learn more about SABRE and its products on the SABRE website. Check your state’s laws on pepper spray and pepper gel, too — SABRE does not ship some products to certain states.

Join @BibRave, @SabreRed, fellow BibRave Pros and me (@VanessaJunkin) for #BibChat on Twitter this Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.

See what fellow BibRave Pros had to say: 
Running Around the Boyz
She Runs by Faith
The Marathon Lady
Angie Runs

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7 thoughts on “Gear Review: Staying safe with SABRE products made for athletes

  1. Pingback: Staying Aware
  2. I know what you mean about not feeling like you look very intimidating. I’m 5’1″ and I always feel like a little kid when I’m out running but I do feel a lot safer now that I’m carrying this pepper gel on my dark runs!

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