“What could possibly happen to me while running? And it’s just a short run, ’round the neighbourhood.”
Ah, but unforeseen circumstances are exactly that – unforeseen; something you wouldn’t expect to happen. Most runners are careful and safety-conscious themselves, but it’s also possible that a runner may be sharing the road with other road users who are momentarily distracted, or who suddenly find their vehicles in unexpected mishaps (or just, unfortunately, being plain reckless), in your vicinity.
Or it could just be your lucky day to trip in the half-light of dawn and end up stepping into a pothole!
Having personal identification and medical information on yourself, coupled with information on contact persons, can make a lot of difference in emergency situations. Persons coming to your aid will know whom to call if you are unable to speak or react due to shock or injury. First responders will know what to do if you have a prevailing medical condition (for instance, if you have diabetes, hypertension, or are asthmatic, or have certain allergies, or have had past major surgeries).
It makes perfect sense for people active in endurance sports, in particular, to carry an ID band with them. Long runs, even in groups, may not pan out how you expect them to. If you run on trails, the variables increase. If you run ultras, I’ll bet you’ll already have a wearable ID in hand. (There’s certainly plenty of celebrity endorsement; American ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes being one of many who don ID bands while on the run.)
I have, for years, carried in my wallet a Personal Emergency Data Card issued by the Malaysian Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association and I have a road-ID lock screen on my smartphone. I am thankful that I have not needed to use them during my runs, but with numerous reports of mishaps taking place in the news, there is peace of mind in having identification handy. I have recently started to look out for something wearable that’s easily accessible, hardy (and doesn’t disintegrate by the end of the marathon course, especially in the humid tropics) and doesn’t depend on phone battery life. Military dog-tags are another popular style of ID, though I personally prefer not to have swinging accessories when I run. There’s Road ID, the popular maker of ID bands in the US, but recently I came across something home-grown (and at a more wallet-friendly price range too).
A cyclist with one of my runner/triathlete groups, Yue-Jin, owns Lifeline ID, a proudly Malaysian brand of ID bands that come in a variety of styles ranging from silicone with a watch-style clasp or canvas with velcro strips, to ones that fasten onto your watch, shoelaces or attire. Prices range from RM40-RM60. Your relevant personal and medical particulars are laser-engraved onto a stainless-steel plate, and replacement plates are available at RM20 each if the plate is lost or if your information needs updating. Find out more in this feature article on Lifeline ID on baikbike.com in January. Lifeline ID’s website has suggestions on useful information to be engraved on your ID plate. I also found this page on sample text from RoadID’s website to have some useful guidelines on information that you may wish to engrave (including some standard abbreviations for medical information). If you have space left, you could further personalise your ID with an inspirational quote (or something that’s uniquely you – mine says “IF FOUND, GIMME COFFEE!”)
The mom in me immediately thought of another use – why, my kid would probably be quite happy to have her own personalised ‘bracelet’ too, for future kiddy races (where a race official can quickly help call mom or dad if kiddo can’t locate you at the finish line chaos), or even on school outings and camping trips.
One hopes it will never be needed, but hey, I’d get a bunch of these for the whole family.