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Home » Empowerment and Safety in Outdoor Running: A Conversation with Jodi Fisher! Ep93

Empowerment and Safety in Outdoor Running: A Conversation with Jodi Fisher! Ep93

#093 – Jodi Fisher, founder and CEO of Go Guarded, shares her empowering journey of creating self-defense tools that enable runners to feel safe during their outdoor workouts. We delve into her personal experiences that led to the birth of Go Guarded, a brand that focuses on empowerment and readiness. 

This episode is not just a must-listen for runners and outdoor enthusiasts but for anyone who values personal safety. Prepare to feel empowered and inspired.

Topics Covered:

  • Importance of personal safety when running outdoors
  • Key insights that can help keep you safe when running
  • Accessible self-defense tools that do not interfere with your run
  • Benefits of having the right mental attitude when it comes to your safety

Today’s Guest

Jodi Fisher, founder and CEO of Go Guarded

Jodi Fisher

Jodi is the founder and CEO of Go Guarded, an innovative brand of self-defense products designed for runners and other on-the-go individuals.   

Follow Go Guarded:


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Richard Conner: [00:00:00] Hi, my friend. Are you an outdoor runner or thinking about running outdoors but you don’t always feel safe well Jodi Fisher from go guarded is our guests today and she’s going to share the tips and tools to help you feel safe on your outdoor runs hope you enjoy

​ Richard Conner: Hi, everyone. Welcome to inspire to run podcast. Today. We have a special guest. Jodi Fisher. Jodi is the founder and CEO go guarded and innovative brand of self defense products designed for runners and other on the go individuals. Thank you for coming on [00:01:00] the show, Jodi. This is such an important topic about runner safety, and I’m really excited to learn more about you and the work that you’re doing with Go Guarded.

So welcome.

Jodi Fisher: Oh, thank you so much. What a pleasure to be here. I appreciate you sending the invitation.

Richard Conner: Of course, of course. And like I mentioned, you know, this is a very important topic that I wish I would. I got on the show a lot sooner, just given everything that’s kind of happened, um, in the world over the last couple of years alone, um, very public incidents and very tragic. So, you know, really looking forward to learning a little bit more about you and the work that you’re doing and how we can help keep our community safe.

So, you know, let’s just start the conversation by learning just a little bit more about you.

Jodi Fisher: Okay. Well, I started running approximately seven years ago. And the way that Go Guarded was founded was that on one of my earlier runs, I didn’t have my running squad yet. So I was doing a solo run [00:02:00] at a park, Midtown Park, and I was just going to go around the perimeter of the park. But somehow I managed to take a wrong turn and I ended up in a secluded, darker part.

Uh, the sun was setting. And everything turned out fine. I just picked up the pace and I found a more populated area, but that feeling stuck with me of how vulnerable I was. And I wasn’t sure what I would have done, had something. So, and that, that feeling stuck with me of being that vulnerable. So I started looking for self defense products that made sense for runners that were convenient, effective.

Um, and I didn’t find anything. And. Professionally, before I started Go Guarded and even currently, I still work in criminal justice and my whole career has been criminal [00:03:00] justice and law enforcement. So I’m always very aware of my personal safety and it’s something I take very seriously. So, um. So I went on this journey looking for product, how I can feel safer while running and never found it.

So that is how Go Guarded got started. Um, and just to be clear, I had zero product development experience. I didn’t know anything about it. So I just was on there just like, well, let’s Google this and let’s. Google that and, yeah, and that was how I came up with my first product. I had this idea for the Go Guarded ring and, um, it was, uh, that’s how it started.

That’s the backstory. And I still currently work. I work in actual federal criminal justice now. Um, I used to be a probation officer up in Phoenix, Arizona. Um, and while I no longer. [00:04:00] Work in that aspect of it now. I’m older. So I just work in administration of Justice I work as an analyst But yeah, so still super important to me about personal safety.

So Richard Conner: Well, thank you, Jody. I appreciate you sharing your story and, you know, congratulations on the work that you’ve done to bring new products to market to start a business. And again, to help the, you know, our running community stay safe. And, you know, I could share a personal story story on my side, somewhat similar to yours. I was, you know, going for a walk . And, I was walking past a park that’s actually close by. I mean, a park that we go to occasionally with the kids and the dog, but it was later at night and I’m not usually out at night, but, um, and I just had to get that walk in that day and I just felt someone walking behind me.

And I, I can’t say that they were necessarily following me, but it was probably the 1st time walking and running in [00:05:00] my neighborhood where I felt it. Uncomfortable and somewhat unsafe. So, you know, that’s kind of really just stuck with me for, for a really long time. So I can resonate with your story and, you know, in that way.

Jodi Fisher: Oh, absolutely it and it’s not although my products focus And we’re developed for the female market. I know that men are not immune to, uh, violence or being victims while running. And, um, I have been in contact, uh, somebody is probably 18 months ago. Um, somebody that now I’m friends with. I had met on Instagram, he had reached out to me, he, a man was running in Philadelphia, he was on a solo run and he’s a nice guy.

Somebody had stopped him to ask, you know, what time is it or what direction this or that. And that person was clearly mentally unstable and [00:06:00] literally just started stabbing this man. That’s out running. So I mean, he’s okay. And the person got arrested and prosecuted, but I, although my main focus is women, I am well aware that, that men are victims too, and have their own set of issues that they deal with for their safety.

Richard Conner: yeah, for sure. For sure. So, you know, let’s talk about your company. Let’s talk about the products and let’s talk about, you know, the things surrounding, um, this that could help others keep themselves safe, you know, while they’re out on

their run. So, you know, maybe we’ll start a little bit about, you know, the philosophy of the company and some of the products that you offer.

Jodi Fisher: Oh, so the philosophy is just, . Empowerment, I guess, if I had to just wrap it up, you know, concisely and precisely for that’s what we believe in. We want to empower people [00:07:00] to, you know, we don’t want to scare people, right? We still want you to go running and enjoy the outdoors and, but we want you to feel empowered and kind of level the playing field a little bit because like I said, it’s mostly women that I cater to and oftentimes they are smaller.

Then somebody that would be an assailant and it’s. So I, the company Go Guarded just looks for a way to, to even that out and give women, um, a little bit of a leg up on that. , and so we started with the Go Guarded ring and you just slip it on. And you just go for your run. That’s it. And the nice thing about it is that it’s attached to your finger, to your hand, and it’s less likely to be taken away from you should an encounter happen.

Cause it is, it’s attached to you. , also it’s always ready. It’s [00:08:00] on your finger and you’re naturally going to use your hands to fight. You know, God forbid something happens and you do get assaulted, you’re naturally going to use your hands. So it’s there. It’s attached to you. You don’t have to fumble around in, you know, your fanny pack or your purse to like, hold on, Mr. assailant. I’ve got my pepper spray in my backpack. Just hold on. You know, that’s not reality, right? You just, if you’re fighting for your safety, You know, you got to be ready to go. So that is, , one of the things we really strive to make all our products, , convenient, comfortable, and effective for runners, right?

And they work for other people. They work for college students walking across campus at night. They, they work for, you know, nurses leaving a late shift in the hospital and walking through a dark parking lot. , somebody on that has to take the bar to the subway or the metro, [00:09:00] but runners, , have special needs.

You know, we don’t have, uh, we don’t want to carry things. We don’t want to, we don’t always have pockets to store things. So, so the focus really was on runners. Once I started running and saw that, um, there really was not anything right. So that happened when I got a. On that solo run. And I got a little concerned for my safety.

You know, I’m starting to look for what are my options as a runner for self defense tools, and there were literally at that time. So this was seven years ago, it was pepper spray. That was it. And I was like, this can’t be, this, this can’t be the only option. And I’m Googling, Googling, Googling. And I’m like, this is insane.

How did somebody not address this need? So it was never my intent. I never woke up one morning and said, I’m going to be an entrepreneur and I’m going to create a product. [00:10:00] What should I create? It wasn’t like that. It was, this is the need. How do I fill this need? And I couldn’t. So, , yeah, so I, I just little by little took the steps necessary to create, uh, , Go Guarded products.

So. Yeah. Richard Conner: I love that. I love that. And I love that this was born out of necessity, right? So this was your passion, something that you enjoy doing. And you realize that there was a need here and you wanted to help not only yourself, but others. So, you know, that’s very inspiring. And it’s inspiring for, you know, I hope it’s inspiring for our listeners to know that, you know, this isn’t just something that, You know, is, is being trying to be sold to them as something that’s really developed by a runner to help them in, in their safety and their running journey. So, so that’s really great

Jodi Fisher: Absolutely. Yeah. Oh, thank you. Yeah. I never set out to like, I want to be rich. Let me create a company and what can I sell? It was absolutely, that has never been the goal. It was how, how do [00:11:00] I fill this need? How do I help other runners? Because I know it’s not just me that has safety concerns on their runs. So.

Richard Conner: sure. So, you know, tell us a little bit more about that. So you mentioned about the ring solution that you have. Um, what other products are you offering ?

Jodi Fisher: Yeah, so the ring was the first product and then the second product is a handheld that, um, it straps again. It’s, it’s strapped right to you. It’s got a Velcro enclosure and it’s, there’s a pocket up top that either fits pepper spray, an alarm or a stun gun and so it sits right in the palm of your hand.

And then at the bottom is that same go guarded blade, that heavy duty plastic serrated edge blade with the idea for the handheld is that hopefully you’re able to deter an attack before it happens, either with the pepper spray, [00:12:00] the stun gun or the alarm. That would be great because the. Best fight is a fight that is avoided, right?

So if you can deter that, fantastic. But if it does, unfortunately turn into a hands on assault, you, you have the blade, that plastic serrated edge blade, and you could just hammer strike. And it’s right, right there. Again, it’s convenient, it’s comfortable, it’s effective. It’s ready to go. You don’t have to do anything, same thing.

Like there’s no fumbling around to let me get this out of my fanny pack. , so that’s been the, that’s kind of like the secret sauce, right? We want to make it on each product that that’s for a runner. It’s going to be convenient, comfortable, effective, always ready.

Richard Conner: Got it. Got it. And yeah, and I like that accessibility there on. I see, I see that with the ring and then, and then with this [00:13:00] product. And the other thing that I’m thinking about is as a runner, especially if you’re running longer distances, you mentioned you may not want to carry things, but you may, you may have a pack with, with water or, or whatever your hydration or nutrition is. And how do you, um, How do you do all of that while you’re carrying something that sounds like, you know, with the go garter products that you’re still able to function as a runner and not impede anything else that you have to do, but you’re keeping yourself safe.

Jodi Fisher: Yeah, absolutely. You can, with the ring on or the handheld, you still can use your hands. You can still tie your shoes. You can fix your ponytail. You can check your garment. Um, just, you know, obviously you want to be careful, you know, wiping sweat. Just be aware that the ring is on your finger. Um, and I will say this, a question we get a lot regarding the ring and the handheld, I’m afraid people say, well, I don’t want to stab myself or I don’t, you know, I’m going to, I’m going to fall and injure [00:14:00] myself.

And I would say that, um, one of the things that was intentional when we developed this product was that we made it to reduce the likelihood of self harm. So instead of having a super sharp, like razor blade edge, we intentionally made it out of this heavy duty.

So if you do, you know, you’re running next to one of your buddies and you accidentally, you know, your form, it’s the end of the run, you’re tired, your form is off a little bit. You accidentally, you know, graze the runner next to you with your ring, you know, you might scrape them or scrape yourself, but it’s not going to send you to the hospital for stitches.

It intentionally requires a little bit of force to be effective. You

Richard Conner: Got it. Got it. That’s, that’s ingenious. I think that’s, you know, super helpful. Again, you know, we’re first runners we’re running [00:15:00] and that’s what we’re focused on. So like you said, if you’re tired or you’re not thinking about, you forget like, Oh, I have this on my hand,

um, that you have those safety features. You know, included. So that’s really great. And how do you help runners figure out what’s the right solution for them and how to use it?

Jodi Fisher: Well, you know, it’s personal preference like me. Um, I love the handheld with the stun gun like that. That’s what i’m gonna use, right? That’s just my favorite and it’s just preference and a lot of people Say no, I prefer the ring. It’s lighter, uh, less, it’s just smaller. Um, so it’s really, it’s just personal preference, but I think from my experience, I like the handheld and I like the hammer strike option, the hammer strike, which you have available to you.

So I just think for me, that’s the better choice. So everybody has their own, whatever they’re comfortable with. And [00:16:00] some people will buy both. And see which they prefer. And I will say we intentionally, make the products affordable, right? That’s the other thing. They’re convenient. They’re comfortable, effective, but they’re also affordable for runners.

Richard Conner: Yeah. And

Jodi Fisher: personal

Richard Conner: I love

Jodi Fisher: the short answer.

Richard Conner: yeah, I, and I love seeing the photos online of, you know, folks that are using Go Guarded products and You know, it really looks like they’re, they’re enjoying having the products and it’s really kind of bring them comfort, you know, on their runs. And you could see that. So, so that’s really great about what you’re doing again for the community and, you know, beyond the products themselves, what other tips or what else would you share with our running community to help keep them safe? You know, while they’re out there on, on the road.

Jodi Fisher: Now for me, the number one thing is always going to be awareness, right? Situational awareness, like head on a swivel. , don’t keep 2 earphones or 2 [00:17:00] earbuds on, you know, you want to be able to hear what’s going on around you. You want to stay engaged with your environment, right? Always scanning. , and for me, whether I’m running, walking, you know, getting into my car, driving my car, I always play, , the what if game like to just keep engaged with my environment, like I’m driving and I’m like, this guy is driving a little erratically, what am I going to do if, what if he.

Does this, so I’m always aware of like, who’s behind me, who’s driving in the lane next to me. So I just play out different scenarios all the time. And I do that while running, while driving, what if, right? And it just mentally keeps you engaged with what’s going on around you. So that for me, number one, hands down situational awareness.

Um, the other thing I think is super important is your mental attitude. Like, I know [00:18:00] that I’m worth fighting for, right? I will do whatever it takes. I am worth it and I will fight like hell. And that’s my mental attitude and, and I want people to be empowered and to take whatever steps necessary to know that.

They can do this. They’re worth fighting for. And if they want to, if they take jujitsu or self defense classes or, uh, Krav Maga, whatever it is. That a person needs to do to build their confidence and know that they’re a badass and that they have that mental attitude that I’m not going to be your victim, right?

So that whole mentality that I’m going to be a really bad victim. You will be sorry that you chose me. So, so it’s mentally for [00:19:00] me, like really important mentally and also how I present myself. Whether I’m running, walking, I, you know, always chest out, shoulders back, tall, straight, , engaged with my environment.

I’m not slumped over. I’m, I’m not. You know, head down looking at my phone. I present myself as okay She’s probably not gonna be a great victim Right and just I I don’t know if it’s a vibe and aura but I project I’d like to think I project don’t F with me attitude and I think that’s so important so, you know carry whatever you want to carry if it’s go guarded if it’s You know, another product for self defense, if it’s a firearm, whatever you are comfortable with, it’s, you know, personal safety, right?

It’s personal, whatever you want to carry or not carry or whatever [00:20:00] martial art or self defense you, , want to take or not take, , personal decisions. But I think we all should, be situationally aware.

Richard Conner: For sure. For sure. Thank you so much, Jodi, for sharing that. Those are really great tips. And I’m thinking about it again, even as a runner on my own runs. And, and I do, I do some of that, right? So I wear headphones that don’t go into my ears so I can have, I’m not distracted completely by what I’m listening. Listening to and making sure that I’m looking ahead, which I should be looking somewhat ahead. Anyway, if I’m going to have good running form, so that’s going to help you in both ways, right? For safety and having good

Jodi Fisher: Yep.

Richard Conner: those, those are really good tips. And then the confidence piece, you know, it’s probably. It’s similar, but not in the same context. It’s sort of about the same that your attitude will determine your altitude. I think, you know, I think you’re right. I think how you think of yourself and the attitude that you have, and that’s what you’re going to manifest, right? And [00:21:00] you’re, you want to manifest that you’re someone that you’re not the person to be messed with. Right. And I think that’s what you’re getting out there.

Jodi Fisher: Yeah, absolutely. Oh, absolutely. One hundred percent. Yeah, because I think, , the, the thing that I think maybe we don’t understand enough is that the perpetrator, the bad guy, he’s nervous, right? He, he, he doesn’t want to get injured. He doesn’t want to get caught, right? So he’s gonna look for a victim that’s meeker, smaller, less attitude.

Right. And they, they can, I believe people can read energy.

Richard Conner: Good tips. Thank you for sharing that.

And you know, I’m interested now in your journey. So whether it’s your running journey or your journey with your business, what would you say is one of the biggest obstacles that you faced and how did you overcome it?

Jodi Fisher: , okay. So probably the number one in the business was the money. Right? I have this idea. How do I, how [00:22:00] do I pay for it? So in the business part, that, that was the number one thing. Ultimately I ended up, so let’s say what I did is I took baby steps, right? I have this idea. , I found a engineering team, product development team, brought them the idea.

They said, that’s a great idea. We’d love to work on this project. we’ll do the development. Okay. How much is that going to cost? Okay. That’s a thousand, 2000, whatever. Okay. I can afford that. Okay. So then they get a prototype and looks good. I showed around. People are like, that’s a great idea. You should move forward.

Okay, great. What’s the next step. And the next step was, um, production and that’s where it got super expensive. And I really struggle. How am I going to, how am I going to, Cause I’m just, you know, I’ve got it. Yeah, I’ve got a decent job, but I’m not a wealthy person. And, you know, I still had a son at [00:23:00] home. , so I ended up, this is really scary, but I ended up borrowing from my retirement account.

So that was a, that was a big step and, um, but I did it and it, it worked out. I’ve since paid that money back, but it was a big risk. So, and I think that is the biggest hurdle a lot of people are going to face when they want to take on, um, a big project like this. So for me, yeah. Money. Yes.

Richard Conner: Yeah. Yeah. And you know, and I love your approach to it, you know, the two parts to it. One was taking baby steps. So I think that’s relevant for no matter what you’re doing. Right. If you’re going to get into running, you know, doing that, the baby steps, your, your couch to 5k, or if you’re going to start a business, you know, what are those small steps as you could do to, you know, prototype, validate your idea, et cetera, et cetera. And then at that point where you’re like, I’m ready to go in taking the risk, which, [00:24:00] you know, might be daunting. It might be hard for someone to take that risk or take that step. And you did it. And it not only paid off from a business perspective. Yeah,

Jodi Fisher: Yeah,

Richard Conner: but, um, but, but you did it and you benefited, you know, that you have this, this business as well as you’re helping the community, the running community. So just really, really great tips and inspiring story.

Jodi Fisher: Oh, thank you. The takeaway for me is that, , I’m not the smartest person in the room. I’m not the wealthiest person in the room. I had no background in this, but I was able to do it. I made smart decisions, informed decisions. I had no product development experience, but I was still able to do this.

So if people think, Oh, I can’t do this. This is, you know what you can, you know, it’s not, everybody’s going to be successful, but be smart and have, you know, have faith and, and get that feedback. And yeah, [00:25:00] people can do great things.

Richard Conner: love it. Love it. I’m really enjoying this conversation, Jody. And, you know, just kind of, as we wind down here, I’d love to know what’s next for you as a runner and what’s next for go guarded.

Jodi Fisher: Um, so. Regarding running, I, I am a very middle of the road, middle of the pack. I do not have great running aspirations. For me, I just run a little bit. I’ve never, I try not to run more than five miles because for me personally, nothing good ever happens after five miles. Right. And that’s just, and I know there are people that run marathons that will never be me.

I’m a very casual runner. So I wish I could say, Oh yeah, I’m training to run, you know, the London marathon. I’m not, I never will. Right. So I’m always [00:26:00] just, I like running. Uh, it keeps me somewhat fit. It keeps me mentally stable. I love the social aspect of it. I love my running group of friends. But casual, I’m a casual runner.

So, um, for that, and then I guess for the business, you know, we’re always looking for new product ideas and by we, I mean me, I’m always looking for new product ideas. I’ve always got something in development. , because I just want to keep growing and expanding and reaching more people. , and I am starting to reach out more into the, , Pride LGBTQ plus community, because I think they have great safety needs.

Although not the same as runners, they, they really do, , in, in today’s political environment, , it’s, it’s, it can be scary and dangerous, , to be part of the [00:27:00] pride community. So we’re starting to do more outreach there. , we’re going to our first big pride event in Denver at the end of this month, they’ve got, I guess, a huge pride festival, so that’s, , the biggest thing up next for me. , it is expanding, , our reach into different communities.

Richard Conner: Love it. Love it. Jody. Thank you so much. I appreciate everything that you shared. And, you know, just one final question I have for you is what is, what would you say to our listeners or community to inspire them to run safely?

Jodi Fisher: , okay. , I think it just goes back to what we’ve already covered. Just know that you’re worth fighting for and know that you are a badass and you are not to be messed with. Whatever it takes for you to truly believe that whatever affirmation training. [00:28:00] Whatever it is that you need to get yourself there, please get yourself there because I want everybody to be safe.

And it just breaks my heart when I see these stories of runners, female runners, , attacked. murdered, kidnapped. It’s just heartbreaking. So please, please take whatever safety precautions, whether it’s Go Guarded or, you know, Saber pepper spray or taking jujitsu, whatever it is that you need to do to make yourself empowered.

Please, please do that.

Richard Conner: Thank you so much. Jodi Sage advice for our listeners. How can our community find you and go guarded and follow your journey online?

Jodi Fisher: Oh, okay. So our website is We are on Instagram, [00:29:00] go_guarded. So that’s where the best place for social is for me is Instagram. And, , and check out the website.

Richard Conner: Okay, perfect. Thank you so much, Jodi. I will put that information in the show notes to make it easy for our listeners to find and follow you. So with that, I want to say thank you again for coming on the show and have a great day.

Jodi Fisher: Oh, thank you. My pleasure. I appreciate it.