5 Medieval Weapons for Women Runners

Spring brings flowers, blue skies, and a yearly flood of articles on how to run safely outdoors as a woman. With such original victim-blaming nuggets as “don’t run by yourself in the dark” or “don’t say where you plan to run on social media” and, my personal favorite, “don’t run on the trails alone!” Because if someone decides to attack me, it’s definitely the woods’ fault.

I’m not making light of violence against women. I’ve been violently mugged, which is just punishment, apparently, for feeling so entitled as to leave my house after dark. Nor do I have a solution, though sometimes I think we should all be learning Krav Maga so that people who want to f*ck with us will deeply regret their decision. But I deeply resent the suggestion that fear should rule our actions, or the insinuation that letting down our guard and enjoying our time alone in nature means we’re inviting trouble. Most of all, I despise the fact that there is now a whole fear industry that wants to profit on our fear and vulnerability with a vast array of pink, sharp, made in China “personal defense” items for women like that cat-shaped claw thing! To hurt people with! Idk just give us your credit card number kthxbye.

Which just begs the question, are you really going to inflict damage with three-inch plastic cat ears to anything except your own hand? I’m all in favor of cat-shaped anything, but when it comes to self-defense, let’s not settle for that cheap plastic crap. Let’s go back to a time when settling interpersonal conflicts with artisanal blunt objects was the order of the day. Medieval weaponry is the next big thing in safety, ladies. 

Take that, you perv.
How do you like me now, you perv?


Not the spray can kind, the better kind. You may only have one ball, but: Your ball has spikes! On a chain! Take that, psychos.

How to carry: Maybe the next marketing cycle will feature innovative belts and armbands for maces a la the iPhone, but for now I mean … it’s a spiked ball on a chain, so we got nothin’.

Drawback: See above.

Skinny Swords

Rape? Not when you’ve got your rapier! This long, thin metal sword is perfect for a little cut and thrust with a bad guy.

How to carry: Keep it in your hand and brandish it constantly while running. It’s all in the wrist!

Drawback: Carpal tunnel.


Does anything say ‘F off!’ like a blunt, heavy object?

How to carry: Slung over your back in a handcrafted leather holster.

Drawback: Just don’t whack the back of your head when you whip it out.

Man Catcher

Originally used to pull riders down from their horses, this can eliminate potential threats before they get within six feet. Get them before they can get to you!

Bonus: Looks like a cat!

Drawback: In conversation often gets confused with your favorite push-up bra.

Battering Ram

Why wait until shit gets threatening? Just run around yelling with your own personal phallic-destruction machine, and everyone will leave you alone.

Best way to carry: Under one arm.

Drawback: Heavy.

What’s your weapon of choice?

I'm a 43-year-old living in Berlin, Germany and currently training for the 2020 Berlin Marathon.

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    1. Yes!! Definitely hold that thought for an upcoming Friday 5 on what the heck to do with all your old race medals :p