Will I Die if I Lose my Keys?


If you’re a longtime runner, possibly you’ve lost your house or car key while on a run. How can you prevent this, and if it happens, what can you do?Key tied to shoe

I contacted Sted E. Payce, head of the Office of Key Security at the National Institute of Running Sciences. He shared a survey done last year about places runners keep their keys:

  • Running shorts or pants pocket – 47%
  • Shoe laces – 22%
  • Fanny pack or strap-on key pouch – 9%
  • Neck or bracelet chain – 7%
  • Buried deep inside thick, unmanageable hair – 5%
  • Hanging on nose ring – 3%
  • Other – 2%

Mr. Payce believes it doesn’t matter which method you use, though he suggested using a nose ring is best as your key is always right in front of you. However, remembering where you put it is key. (Mr. Payce laughed after saying this.)

“Yes, that’s funny,” I replied. “But what do you do if somehow your key gets lost?”

Mr. Payce says these guidelines have been developed:

  • Don’t panic until at least several hours have passed.
  • Don’t smash or break a window to get inside your house or car. Judges have heard the “I lost my key” excuse a zillion times.
  • Re-trace your running route. Even if you don’t find your key, the extra mileage may mean a PR in next week’s race.
  • Have faith that when people lose their keys, even in remote or dangerous areas, less than 1 in 3 cases end in death.

2 thoughts on “Will I Die if I Lose my Keys?

  1. You mentioned that one way to find your key is to retrace your route. When you retrace your route, what kind of pace would you suggest using? Obviously, the extra mileage could lead to a PR in next week’s race, so would it be best to keep a faster pace at the risk of not seeing the lost key?

    • Diana, I like how your questions are very detailed. I can see this is an important issue for you, and you’ve spent time considering it. Allow me to offer an in-depth answer: Your pace should be determined by the contrast between the surface you are running on and the color of your key. However, I spent much time devising a better solution. The best way to find a lost key is to order a device I invented a couple years ago called the Key Locator 5000. It’s like a metal detector. You wear it like a head lamp, and just retrace your route at any pace you want. It will beep loudly if it picks up traditional metal keys or the electronic push-button type. You can order it for $79.95 at Jimsgotanamazingkeylocatordevicewaitingforyou.com.

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