I’m a fair-weather runner. My running shoes hibernate in the wardrobe from November to February, to spare me from running in the worst of the winter weather. But with the wettest April since records began now segueing into an equally soggy May, there’s a slim chance of dodging raindrops on the run.
Or so you might think. But in the last few days, I’ve discovered I have a King Canute-like ability to turn the tide of imminent downpours, simply by donning my trainers and hitting the road.
Last Saturday, I was scheduled to take part in a four-mile fun run in the next village. On the preceding Thursday and Friday, the rain had been falling in torrents. I wondered whether I’d be better off in a swimsuit than a tracksuit. I carefully packed a raincape for the run and a complete change of clothing, expecting to peel off sopping kit as soon as I crossed the finish line.
I drove to the starting point, windscreen wipers on full speed, headlights on, careering through puddles half the width of the roads. The race had been limited to 30 entrants, for fear of overcrowding, but thanks to the weather, only three, apart from me, turned up. The other three looked very pleased to see me. I gulped. There was no turning back.
And yet, by the time we padded off up the hill at the start of our four-mile circuit, the rain had just about vanished. We plodded on companionably, enjoying the inimitable freshness that emanates from fields after heavy rain. The weather was cool but comfortable, and when we arrived back at the village hall, we were pleasantly warm – and dry. Yet on the drive home, I had to turn my windscreen wipers on again.
Then last night, I went to join the local running club’s evening run. As I drove down the hill, steely grey clouds were hanging ominously over the clubhouse. It was drizzling as I parked the car. I took this to be an overture to a drenching. But once my run began, the same thing happened as on Saturday. The storm clouds held back; there was not a drop of precipitation. On the return leg, there was even a glimpse of the sun. But no sooner had I got home and kicked off my running shoes than great sheets of lightning began to fill the sky in the direction of where I’d been running. Thunder rumbled on for some time.
So I’m coming to the conclusion that my running has the effect of a reverse raindance. This could come in very handy.
Now, I realise that by going public with my new-found talent, I’m probably going to jinx it. (First rule of Reverse Raindance Club: Don’t Talk About Reverse Raindance Club.) Expect a follow-up post from me any time soon detailing how I’ve been struck by lightning on my latest run or had to swim home through a monsoon.
But I hope not, and just for selfish reasons. Think of the public good that I could do! This Wimbledon season, the British Lawn Tennis Club could hire me to run round the courts whenever the weather looks murky. If I sprint about Lords Cricket Ground now and again, rain need never stop play. And as to the London Olympics, well, let the sun shine.
It’s a shame I didn’t discover this talent earlier. I live near the Badminton Estate, where the most famous equestrian event in the world was meant to be taking place this weekend. For the first time in 25 years, it’s had to be cancelled because their land is waterlogged. If they’d just let me run around their course for a bit, I could have saved them the bother. But it’s just as well they didn’t ask me – I’m not sure I’m up to the jumps.
Some of my other posts about running:
And if you enjoy any of these posts, please consider sponsoring my Bristol 10K run later this month! I’m raising money for research into a cure for my daughter’s Type 1 Diabetes here. Thank you!