Couch to 5K
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Running on canal towpaths

On account of the fact I...

A) am massively self-conscious running around the streets

B) live right by a canal towpath (5 min walk so perfect for warm up and cool down)

C) love the whole it being flat/easy life thing!

Thought I had a brainwave doing my morning run there.

My friend said not to as it can be dangerous alone. Does anyone else run on the towpaths? If so, do you do it alone?

(I live in Birmingham by the way - I'm sure it's different for different areas!)

5 Replies

I sometimes run along the towpath if it's can get very muddy in wet weather! Or there is a cycle path about 10yrd behind, but it's not flat , it follows the lay of the land ( which I actually prefer). It is tarmac so all weather running!

If I do I always run when people are about, not too early not too late! I use an Alarm which is like a watch.......the noise wouldn't hurt any one but it would surprise any attacker and hopefully alert others. I do not run the parts which are really remote or quiet. I turn round and run back. I now have a section I can run up to 8 k out and back.

However, if you are not comfortable you won't be able to relax and it will ruin your run. I know my local area but cannot comment on the canal where you are.


Run wherever you damn well want. Or rather, trust your instincts (although your 'friend' may have messed with those for a bit unfortunately) - as you imply, canals vary considerably. There are bits of the Birmingham Canals which I would imagine are chockablock with bona fide runners of a morning and other bits which might be less ideal.

In addition:

Don't run with earphones in both ears.

Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Run with your phone.

And you might not want to run when the light is bad.

There was a report recently of someone being indecently assaulted whilst running on the towpath of one of the canals where I run (middle of a very bright day)... but that was followed by another report which was on a road in town.

I always run with my dog, which helps (I often have places completely to myself). misswobble borrows dogs.


Whilst it is always prudent to take reasonable precautions for personal safety, the likelihood of getting attacked while out running, be it on a towpath or in woods or wherever is, statistically, very low. leaving aside the facts that teh overwhelming majority of attacks on people of either sex take place in the home and/or by someone known, the idea that would be attackers will lurk on canalbanks just on the offchance a potential victim might happen along is a bit far fetched.

Of course take whatever steps your see fit to ensure your safety but we cannot let fear rule our actions. The recent terrible bombing in Manchester and the previous one in Paris were awful tragedies but we cannot react by never going to pop concerts or large gatherings.


I run along a tow path, along a sea wall and in the countryside. It's lovely this time of year. I see other runners and dog walkers. I am probably more likely to be run over by a bus than be attacked during my 30 mins exercise. Obviously, it's prudent to take care, and you need to make the right decision for you.


I love running down the canal! It gets busy! Commuter route and pleasure ground for all kinds of peeps. Ours has a second path for the overspill of users

we are adults! We can do things. It's allowed. 🙂

If we don't dare run off-road etc for fear of axe murderers we would never go out

I was out with jog group last night and took them down an alley behind the town centre, over a flyover and though some woods alongside a brook and through a park. They had never been through most of the route despite being local. It's such a shame that people are fearful of exploring. running with a group is a good idea, especially during the darker days of winter 🙂


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