Mapping Fear?

I can’t be the only person running through sketchy areas of towns. I generally try to pick nasty weather days to do them. Yesterday in a not great place in Albany someone swerved their car at me making me jump off to the side. Also had some not nice words from someone else near the end of the run. Generally no one has given me a problem but I do admit to being a bit fearful at times. I know I have run through areas where people are clearly dealing drugs. I just don’t want to be the target of some bored gang.

Running down really long rural roads with no outlet…especially when not paved doesn’t exactly strike confidence either. Though in these cases I’m more worried about loose dogs than anything else. Though ironically enough the only time I’ve been bit was heatmapping near a middle school by a “friendly” unleashed dog in a nice neighborhood.

I have been screamed at about 3 times for Tresmapping but it was more annoying than fear based :slight_smile:

Anyone had any scary or horror stories run mapping?

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Definitely been messed with by people bored and/or not used to seeing some dorky guy running through their streets or up their cul-de-sac, but never really felt worried for more than a second. Sometimes I’ll skip a narrow, semi-private street or alley if there are people in it hanging their laundry and stuff like that, I don’t want to bother folks.

I’ve seen drug dealing and people loitering around some otherwise vacant areas, I think as long as you’re respectful and not staring them down etc. they probably won’t care…then again, depends where in the world you are and how the other party feels on any particular day.

The most fear I ever get is from loose dogs and clueless drivers. The former I’ve grown to be less agitated by though I still get a rush of exhilaration running away from em, and the latter because they can kill me.

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Obviously 99.99% of the time people really don’t care as long as you aren’t trespassing. With the recent shootings in the area though it does put me on edge during the run. Its very different running in a suburban neighborhood vs a place where someone was gunned down the week before. Usually the violence is directed at people they know but you never know if someone might want to mess with “the dorky guy running their streets” lol. Anyways I’m trying to break up the edgy runs with relaxing ones. In the end you are probably right about distracted drivers being the biggest threat of all.

No horror stories. I once was getting a serious stare-down, and I just asked if they saw a little white dog run down the street? I then yelled for “Fluffy” a few times for good measure. :grinning:


In a small town doing a warm up for a local 5k, another striding buddy of mine and I got a “Whatchu doing down here!?!?! This ain’t nowhere near the race course” when going down a short dead-end street that the homeowners considered part of their private driveway. We just waved and went on, but if it had been on our way into the street we might have turned around.

Another time, we went down someone’s actual driveway because we thought it used to be an alleyway but that was on the other side of some railroad tracks. That got really awkward when the homeowner was pulling groceries out of her car as we came up on her. We asked how to get through and blamed it on Google Maps and she lamented that it wasn’t the first time people had tried to use her dead-end-driveway as a street through to the next part of the neighborhood. We apologized and went on our way embarrassed but no worse for wear.

The most unique/concerning wasn’t a city-striding incident but was when on holiday at cabin rental near the end of a LONG dead end street. Two of us were going for an evening walk back up the road to find a clearing to look at the stars and on our way back we heard a local resident standing on his front porch saying something. We couldn’t understand what was said so when we called out asking for clarification we realized he was on the telephone. We didn’t think much about it until a few minutes later, when we were almost back to our rental, a car pulled up next to us and very sternly asked what we were doing out there after dark. We explained we were renting for the weekend and out for a stroll and we were headed back to where we were staying. He said he had gotten a call from a neighbor about suspicious people walking down the street. (Could this have been the guy on his porch perhaps?) His displeasure with our presence did not decrease, but seeing as we weren’t trying to hide from him (we had flashlights/headlamps to light our way and be seen) and were about 100yds from our destination he reluctantly ended the inquisition and drove away. He probably would have been a bit more intimidating had he not rolled up to give us a hard time in a smart car.


After runnig streets for years and completing 12 cities, I had one city with 1 manual completion, keeping me from hitting the hard mode button.

It’s a dead and with a local community and the kind of people you don’t want to get in contact with in any way. Last week I was running pas that part via a parallel street and saw from the backside, a small gate with a path tyhat was leading to the street I didn’t complete, and I saw my chance clear. I backed up, ran the path to the gate and crossed my last street in one way without meeting someone or getting into trouble.

After all those years, my last manual completion is off the screen! (but still I am hesitant to hit that hardmode button)


I had my first run in with the police when tresmapping a few weeks ago.

I built out a route ahead of time. I connected two roads via some sort of path I saw on the map that looked like a trail. Some of my mapping friends had it on their lifemap so i figured I was good. It had snowed the day before I did my route and I knew this area was a little off the beaten path so was unsure if my connector route would be plowed (it wasnt).

Turns out part of the connector was on private land, but we kept going. There was a house in front of us and a police car next to it. Slipping on unplowed snow/ice apparently gave him enough time for the officer to see us as we approached and told us to get out. There was a sign that told us no access that we didnt see. I asked him to let us go the extra 50 yards to connect to the street and he wasn’t having it. We turned around and my friend promptly fell on the ice and hurt himself…cursing at me for making him heatmap with me … and run on ice lol, he eventually composed himself and was able to finish the run with a bashed up knee. I finished the run with my buddy then headed back out to snag the street the officer wouldnt let me cut through to. I guess what we rolled up on was the farm where they also house the horses for the police in the city. I guess maybe that is why they had someone stationed out there, not really sure. Anyways I guess it shows that the police generally probably think you are more annoying than anything else if you trespass somewhere running. Not that I recommend it haha.


I am having this challenge right now. I am an American working / living in Hungary for the last few months. I have about 15 streets left in my current city, but am dreading a cluster of 3-4 of them that are a bit “unsavory” between the residents and the uncontrolled animals. I have also found myself running on “roads” that are far from my idea of a road. I have also ended up in areas that feel dangerously like private property. It’s definitely been a great adventure doing my Citystride challenges in multiple states and multiple countries now.


Might be specific to Rhode Island, but I’ve had the least trouble where I most expected it. Time of day has a lot to do with it, early runs mostly, but I did have at least one memorable encounter in the dark with somebody I probably stumbled on while he was checking to see if car doors were unlocked. Not friendly, certainly made me more cautious.

On the flip side, I also had one of the nicest invitations to go to hell at the end of a possible rural dead end road. Heard a “hey!” and I slowed to ask directions / permission to follow the dirt track to a trail ahead. Guy said the last person to head in that direction had to be found and hauled out by someone on horseback, so yeah, no problem.


Last summer I was running early morning around an industrial park cul-de-sac when a skinny homeless guy in his 20s jumped out of a debris pile 25 meters away and charged me brandishing a golf club. I squared on him and faked my most menacing “easy brother… you don’t want to do that”. The guy–who probably weighed 50 pounds less than me–looked terrified. He dropped the club and sprinted into one of the nearby sites. Drugs or mental health issues I imagine. Scared the crap out of me and I spent the final mile with my head on a swival. Otherwise, only issue I’ve had is aggressive dogs in rural areas. They suck.


I’m currently running every street of my home city of Tulsa, OK. There are sections that are fairly rough. But the biggest problem in these areas are loose dogs. There have been reports of loose pitbulls doing serious damage and the occasional fatality. For this reason, I run with an ultrasonic sound emitting device called The Dazer II that is not audible to humans, but emits a frequency dogs do not like one bit. It has made several aggressive dogs retreat from my presence. I also carry a wrist-mounted pepper spray canister as a Plan B that I hope I never have to use.

I find that sometimes it pays to dress for the environment. In more affluent areas, I dress in more runner-style clothes with bright colors so as to say, “I am a jogger, no need to fear me in your rich neighborhood.” In rougher spots, I dress a little more weathered or “commercial” - such as a blue collar work shirt, construction-worker hi-vis instead of runner-style hi-vis, just something that denotes “this guy is just passing through and isn’t nefarious.” It doesn’t hurt that I also have a chest-length gray and red beard and prefer an old weathered bucket hat so it’s not hard to pass as homeless when I really want to.

Ultimately, one of the most disarming tactics I’ve found against a suspicious state is a friendly wave, smile, head-nod, and “good morning” while moving forward with confidence (even if I’m totally lost :laughing:). Most people aren’t used to courtesy of a burst of positivity from strangers and is enough to confuse them long enough to let me pass through. By the time they think to ask me what I’m doing there, I’m usually already gone.

I did do this once to a rough-looking fella and he lunged at me with a fist, yelling, “Give your f*ckin’ wallet!! Haha, nah, just kidding.” This was before I started carrying pepper spray. I’m glad too or else my draw-response that I’ve been practice may have made me responsively soak the guy or a terrible joke.


I echo many of the stories and attitudes in this thread. People good. Loose dogs bad. When I hear one of many barks per walk (bpw), I swivel my head toward the sound and quickly assess “is it in a house?, behind a fence?, on a leash? or…oh shit, its loose!” Having witnessed a mauling years ago, I just don’t take dogs for granted despite the owner invariably saying “its okay, Killer is very friendly” as their barking, snapping, drooling pet is sizing me up for today’s lunch!

You do have to be mindful of your surroundings anywhere and after walking 17K streets from low-income to posh neighborhoods, I find that I’m as likely to be challenged anywhere. I will admit that I have purposely walked rough areas on Sunday mornings rather than say Friday night but I don’t dress any differently. Sometimes if I’m in an area where I think I’ll get asked for a handout, I put some loose dollar bills in my front pocket so I don’t have to fish out my wallet. But same goes if I think I’ll encounter a pop-up lemonade stand! (they are ruthless) :grin:

But generally being polite works for me all the time. If I’m on a street marked private or someone gives me the stink-eye, I just say “do you mind if I walk your road?” I find that people everywhere are just minding their own business: walking their children or pets, talking to neighbors and not shooting at me!