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This New Device Attaches to Your Phone and Could Make Your Runs Safer

Everyone should be able to go on a run without fearing for her life. But sadly, it's becoming clear that this is not the reality we're dealing with. In August, Mollie Tibbetts' body was found after she had gone missing during a run. Now, police are investigating the case of Wendy Karina Martinez, who died after being stabbed while jogging in her neighborhood. As stories like these become disturbingly common, women are understandably becoming more fearful of exercising alone and are interested in taking extra safety measures while running. (Related: The Harsh Truth About Running Safety for Women

While there's no way of knowing whether a safety device would have changed the outcome in either of these cases, they can certainly be lifesaving in some situations and can give runners a greater sense of security and control. Several companies have come out with new tech to allow runners to feel more secure and that are convenient to carry at all times. One new company, Katana, offers a device you can attach to your smartphone to send out an alarm signal when you're in danger. (Read up on these eight essential safety tips every trail runner should know.)

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Photo: Katana

The device, called the Katana Arc, has a detachable wristband that you can wear when you want to be prepared to sound an alarm. When you completely detach the wristband from the phone, the Arc sends out a piercing alarm signal. (It functions like that treadmill safety attachment that no one actually uses.) For situations when you don't want to send out an audible alarm, there's also a silent panic button. Initiating either alarm automatically notifies a 24/7 response center, which in turn contacts the closest emergency services to your location as well as texting and calling your emergency contacts. Connecting the Arc to the Katana app on your phone via Bluetooth allows you to choose up to seven emergency contacts and share your location with them or send an alarm. 

Katana joins other companies that make carrying a safety device more convenient, like the Wisewear activity tracker, the Nimb smart ring, and the Roar clip. All can alert emergency contacts and/or first responders of your GPS location at the press of a button, providing hands-free peace of mind when you're running or any other time you feel uneasy. 

The Arc costs $99, plus $15 per month or $12 per month when purchased annually for a subscription to the response center. It is sold on the Katana website and on Amazon. (Related: Google Just Launched a Personal Safety App)

If you've thought about carrying pepper spray or an alarm but never actually bring them on runs, Katana could be an easily incorporated solution. Assuming you bring your phone along for music or to track your distance, you'll automatically have a security device on hand. The hope is that you never actually have to use it. 

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