A Conversation With The run angel Safety Watch Co-Founder - Women's Running
The New Watch For Runner Safety
“About a year ago while I was out running, I passed a group of rowdy guys who actually threw a bottle at my leg,” said David Caren, co-founder of runner safety brand run angel. “When I got back to the parking lot where I had started my run, I noticed a woman who was about to start hers. I shared the incident with her as a warning, since she would be running in that general direction. She thanked me and then turned around, got into her car, and left. I was stunned. I was angry. I thought, No one should have to sacrifice their run for safety, which is one of the reasons I’m so proud of (my and my wife’s) invention.”
That invention, created by David and Ellen Caren, is the run angel safety wearable, which basically functions as an alarm on your wrist.
The run angel was designed to increase safety on the run by sounding a high-pitched 120-decibel alarm when triggered. run angel also has a silent alarm and a running app that can track your movements and send alerts to friends and family members you choose to “watch over you.”
In the event of an activation, run angel will blare from your wrist and the “guardians” at run angel will receive emergency alerts by SMS and email detailing the time, date, coordinates and a map link to your location.
I spoke with creator and CEO David Caren to discuss how run angel came to be and why it’s so important for runners and anyone else that spends time alone outdoors.
“We Went Through A Lot Of Ear Plugs”
“It was always the sound!”
That’s how Caren started our interview. He went on to explain that this factor was the biggest hurdle in bringing run angel to market.
“When we were making it, we needed something that would fit on a wrist and be as loud as possible. The size was a restriction and we were told numerous times it couldn’t be done–but each time we went away unperturbed.”
Eventually, they found engineers in Ireland who were willing to accept the challenge. Caren laments the hours he spent discussing seemingly inconsequential micromillimeters of space and then seeing how the minute difference completely changed the sound.
“The sound is actually more than 120dB (it’s somewhere between 126 and 128) and has been described as what you would hear if (you were standing) directly in front of the speakers at a rock concert,” Caren explained. “Just getting the sound that loud was a challenge. Adding the ability for it to acoustically bounce off walls and break down certain barriers had us constantly messing with the frequency and tuning.”
If you read the online reviews, the waterproof question is the only recurring issue there seems to be with the device. So, I brought it up to Caren. His response?
“It’s Irish weatherproof!”
Caren explained that the watch has yet to let him down in inclement weather like that found in Ireland. However, if the company openly markets the watch as “waterproof,” the product will need to hold up to basically anything underwater, something to which the company is not yet ready to commit.
It’s A Hit
According to Caren, runners email run angel and comment on social media with compelling stories and thanks on an almost daily basis. The following email in particular caught his attention. The excerpt below is taken from an email sent by a wife whose husband died of a heart attack while training for the London Marathon:
The memory of what we went through as a family still haunts me today. I know I couldn’t change the outcome of the tragedy, but I could change the way my children and our family found out the devastating news that Friday night. It took over six hours to find out that [my husband] Brian had died. Six hours from the moment he took his last breath to the moment our world changed forever. A product like run angel would have done that for us.
run angel would have been easily worn and told me within a moment where he was and that he was in trouble. Not only would it have told me, but it would have alerted any passersby to help. I can’t explain how essential having a product like this at that time [not only] would have changed what happened back then, but also how I feel years on. I’ve personally used run angel myself and now don’t leave home without it.