A popular trend this time of year is participating in a ‘Turkey Trot Race’ before filling up on your Thanksgiving feast. It’s something I had laughed at in previous years, because ‘running is for people who can’t shoot’ as I have been known to say, but having taken up the previously silly sport a few years ago, I now see ‘the trot’ in a different light.

While I may have been a gun owner long before I became a runner, the “track” I eventually began to run on was a major influence on my decision to carry a firearm with me when I gear up. As you can see in the video above, there are certainly no shortage of places for potential attackers to hide and many times, I’m out on the trail alone and far from civilization.

Runners World recently conducted a poll to ask their readers if they carry a gun with them when they head out for a run. Of the 4,670 respondents, two percent of men and one percent of women said they sometimes carry. 

That may not seem like much, but in a follow-up article, Runners World said the runners who choose to carry guns feel strongly about their choice to do so – as well they should. After publishing stories about women being attacked on runs, RW received several responses from runners who arm themselves to avoid such a situation including one from 47-year-old Tina Jukich of Duluth, MN.

I started carrying in February after seeing an uptick in both animal encounters and drug-related crimes in our area. I grew up in a hunting family and my husband is an avid hunter, but we never had handguns in the house. But we see where the political stream is going, and we want to make sure we can exercise our second amendment rights. We decided together to go through training and get our concealed carry permits.

It’s not something I took lightly—it’s hugely emotional. A lot of people assume you’re cavalier and you’re going to be this John Wayne, waving your gun. But it took me about six weeks to actually start carrying after I got my permit. You have to resolve within yourself that you could potentially take another person’s life.

I love my husband, I love my family, and when it really came down to it I would go to the ends of the earth to protect myself and them from harm, if I were presented with no other choice. It’s definitely not something everybody is going to be able to do. I applaud others for coming to a different decision. Just don’t infringe your views on my views.

I tell people I’m running with that I’m carrying, because I know some people may not be comfortable with it. Most of my friends actually feel safer, I think. Several of my friends are going to do their concealed carry classes soon. Once I did it, it wasn’t such a taboo for them.

Carrying has really taught me a lot about awareness of your own surroundings. Our instructor talked about keeping your head on swivel. I see more possible dangers. I’ve stopped wearing headphones when I run. You change all your habits, making yourself less of a target as well. The gun I carry is a tool, but the biggest tool you can use is your awareness.

 So how about you, readers? SOUND OFF: Do you pack heat when you hit the pavement? Why or why not?