Started back in 2010, Rungirl is an NPO that seeks to empower women through running. The NPO consists of a group of driven women who, regardless of background, all like to run: anyone from school teachers to Olympians are included in their ranks. Their original aim was to hold a running event for women; by now, their activities have grown to include many volunteer-based, running-related events. This year, they have a renewed focus: making the city safer through running.
The idea is that by running, the women can serve as a type of neighbourhood watch, getting to know their immediate surroundings intimately and therefore noticing when something is not right. The main aim is to protect children: the Rungirls are supposed to make conversation with their neighbours and make sure the kids they encounter along the way are safe.
So far, the campaign is off to a good start, with an endorsement by Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike. Of course, with safety first at the front of their minds, they also have LED-powered armbands, provided by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which make the runners more visible at night. If a random woman in running gear suddenly nods at you in a friendly manner: you now know why.
Check Rungirl's official website for more information.