“I Tried The New ‘Run Angel’ Panic Button While Out Running Alone”
Running alone can be dangerous. Even a survey from the States quantified that fear: women are more than twice as likely to say they’re afraid to venture out at night on foot. Which is tough because cooler dawn and dusk are the best times to lace up. The Run Angel is designed to mitigate some of that risk.
What Is It?
A wrist strap with a giant – yet unobtrusive – panic button. When you push the button, the device emits a high-pitched 120db alarm (think front row at a rock concert or standing next to chainsaw) that’s meant to deter attackers. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth (there’s an app download involved), so it will also send an alert with your coordinates to up to three elected “guardians” in your contacts list. You can also use the Run Angel app to trigger the alarm remotely and notify your guardians just with your phone.
“The alarm is by far the most important function of Run Angel,” says co-founder Ellen Caren. “Consider a real-life scenario: someone is being attacked; they activate their Run Angel; the attacker, not expecting the alarm, is disorientated upon hearing it. This provides an opportunity for the victim to make their escape or call someone for help.”
Since launching in 2013 (the device only landed in SA this year), the Ireland-based creators have received numerous testimonials from women citing Run Angel as a saving grace.
“I’m classified as one of those women who lead a “high-risk” lifestyle: I walk far distances, use public transport, run in the morning or after work (sometimes in the dark) and cat-callers are a regular crowd for me. Given this, I was surprised by how secure and empowered I felt by just wearing Run Angel.
“Having a deterrent that didn’t involve contact (like a knife or pepper spray) made it feel like less of a task to master, should I need it. It’s just a button you push and that feels great. Just make sure your Bluetooth is always on so that if you have to trigger the alarm, your guardians are actually alerted.”
Is There A Fee?
The device itself is R1 495 from SA distributors weRUN (nationwide delivery for free). The companion app is free, but there is a limit to the number of alerts you can send out for free. Once you’ve used all the free activations (about 12), you can buy another 10 for R150.
How Quickly Does It Work?
Once you press the button, the alarm sounds immediately but there’s a default 10-second delay before your guardians are alerted. This gives you time to cancel the alarm (there’s a small button on the side for this) in case you pressed it by mistake. You can change the delay time to five seconds from the app. For your guardians to be alerted, you need to let those five or 10 seconds play out completely.
What’s The Battery Life?
After a full charge, the battery can last up to two weeks, so you can wear it all day. To conserve battery, the device switches off automatically after four hours, so remember to switch it back on before you head out.