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Is running in Kingsport Safe?

Isabella Wilkinson, Staff Writer

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Running is a sport that lots of people do for fun, memories, exercise and enjoyment. At Sevier Middle, the Cross Country team and Track team spend a lot of time running.

Running is an exciting activity for many Sevier students, but is running in Kingsport actually a safe activity?

“I enjoy running because you get to run with a team of people who start to become a family,” Emma True, a Sevier Cross Country runner, said. “I also enjoy being able to succeed at something or accomplishing it.”

Despite the excitement of running, there are a lot of dangers, so running requires a lot of safety precautions. Cars and the weather can be a runner’s biggest enemies.

The Sevier Cross Country team actually has to practice running near roads, because there are only so many options for runners near Sevier Middle School.

“Running in Kingsport is usually pretty safe if you are attentive about what is going on around you,” True said. “Sometimes drivers do not see runners; therefore it can be imperative to assume a car is not going to stop for you. Running in large groups also helps increase visibilities.”

Cross Country coach Julie Potts agrees.

“People that are not runners do not understand why we run,” she said. “They think we are crazy, so you have to respect non-runners, too.”

When running inside of a city like Kingsport, there are lots of safety issues. That is why runners need lots of rules to be safe.

“Before crossing a street, always stop and look both ways, then cross when clear,” Potts said. “Do not assume the driver sees you.”

Potts also recommends that runners never cut corners through yards, never run in the street and always stay on the sidewalk. Other safety tips include never throwing objects at cars, motorcycles, or people, never talking to strangers or yelling at people in neighborhoods, and always running with a teammate or friend.

Not everyone follows the rules all the time, so accidents happen. Usually, they are not serious, but they do hurt runners.

“We have had several runners fall and skin knees and elbows,” Potts said. “This is just from uneven sidewalks and sometimes not paying attention. Other than that, we have been super lucky.”
True agrees.

“I have rolled my ankle a few times,” True said. “This is a bigger concern off campus, like at Bays Mountain, but I have also turned my ankle running on the track. The biggest close call this season was probably multiple injuries at Bays Mountain and Joe Neglia almost got hit by a car.”

Joe Neglia, a Cross Country team member, knows how important safety rules are for runners.

“I have never got hurt, but I have almost been hit by a car three times,” he said. “It was always my fault, though, not the drivers’.”

Morgan Cordell, a member of Sevier’s Cross Country team, agrees.

“The safety of running in Kingsport is decent,” she said. “Cars normally handle us well.”

Chris Carr is a 7th grade teacher at Sevier who also enjoys running for sport.

“So far, knock on wood, I’ve never been hurt running,” he said. “I’ve not even had what I would call a ‘close call’. When I’m running on busy streets, I try to stay on sidewalks, and always keep an eye on traffic. I really don’t want to go head-to-head with a car.”

Sevier’s runners believe there are several good places to run in Kingsport.

“I usually run on the Greenbelt, from Pet Smart towards Holston Valley Hospital,” Carr said. “I know certain areas of the Greenbelt have a reputation of being unsavory, but I’ve always felt safe in that area.”

Cordell enjoys running in Fair Acres.

“It’s probably the safest place to run,” she said. “I say this because it has nice sidewalks and it is just a safe environment. The least safe place is probably downtown, just because there are so many cars and sketchy alleys.”

There are ways the city of Kingsport could make running safer for residents.

“The city of Kingsport could do things like make some of the sidewalks nice,” Cordell said. “Some sidewalks have cracks and splits, and they are easy to roll ankles on.”

Carr agrees.

“Honestly, I’m not sure what the city could do to make it more ‘runner friendly’, besides repairing sidewalks in older neighborhoods,” Carr said. “I feel like, overall, there are numerous places to run, and do so in relative safety. It would be almost impossible to make any area 100% safe, but I usually feel safe and in control while running.”

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Hundreds of students. Thousands of stories. The Sequoyah Scribe.
Is running in Kingsport Safe?