Why Every Runner Should Have An ID Band

Whether you’re on or off the racecourse, accidents can happen anytime and anywhere.

It’s easy to have a false sense of security, as we entrust our safety and well-being with the thousands of runners and volunteers who surround us on the racecourse, or convince ourselves that “it’s only a short run.” But unforeseen dangers lurk around every corner, especially if you run alone. Wild animals on the trail, changing weather conditions and reckless drivers are among the many things runners should be aware of.

Wearing ID bands and tags is an easy way to have personal identification and medical information readily available case of emergencies. Athletes like marathoner Dane Rauschenberg and ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes frequently wear ID bands on and off the course.

For Tom O’Donnell of Apex, N.C., a Road ID bracelet helped get him to the hospital after he collapsed while out for a trail run alone. A cyclist found him and called an ambulance, and first responders were able to call his wife. Doctors were also able to see his medical history on his bracelet, including his note on receiving brain surgery in 2009.

ID bracelets have also been helpful with children; just ask Tim and Olivia Agee of Nashville, Tenn. Their 5-year-old daughter had participated in a kids race, but was not at the pick-up location after the race. A race official found her and contacted her parents to let them know where they were.

Other endurance athletes, such as cyclists, have said ID bracelets can be saviors in crashes. New York resident Tyler VanWormer remembers being only three miles away from home during a bike ride when an oncoming car made an unexpected left turn and drove right into him. He was thrown from his bike, and his face and shoulder punctured the car’s windshield. Paramedics were able to alert his family and also see his medical allergies listed on his ID. “I’m so grateful my [bracelet] was with me then. I hope I never need it again, but I know I’m in good hands if I do,” he said.

Choose sport ID bands made from nylon or a woven nylon, as these materials are durable and washable. Woven nylons in particular are breathable and won’t irritate your skin as you sweat. Check out the carousel at the top left of this post for a sampling of some of the top ID bands out on the market today.

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