Which came first: the parkrun or the rain?

Saturday October 1.

07.00: Wake-up, clamber out of bed, pull back curtains.

Clear blue skies, sun shining. Beautiful morning for a parkrun. Roll on 09.00.

07.25: Finish first cup of tea of the day.

Blue skies now interspersed with small fluffy clouds. Still a lovely morning.

07.45: Breakfast time (porridge with sultana, blueberries and a light drizzle of agave nectar, plus a second cup of tea).

Skies now mostly cloudy. Doesn’t look that threatening though. Still a pleasant morning for a parkrun.

08.10: Finished breakfast. Pre-run banana and coffee.

Big grey clouds appearing in the distance. This looks… threatening.

08.30: Get changed into running kit.

Grey clouds quite close. Rain seems likely – but not imminent. Might get parkrun done in the dry.

08.45: Leave house to head to parkrun.

Grey clouds overhead, and dark clouds closing in. Yeah, it’s going to rain… 

08.55: Arrived at parkrun start.

Slight drops of rain, rumble of thunder in the distance…

08.58: Pre-parkrun briefing begins

It’s raining. Quite hard. Joy!

09.00-ish: Parkrun starts.

It’s raining hard. I’m wet.

09.20-ish: Finish parkrun.

Properly pouring down. I’m soaked.

09.45: Arrive home. Wriggle my way out of soaking running kit. Have shower to warm up.

Still pouring down.

10.00: Finish shower in time to watch Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying.

Rain has stopped. Sun begins to break through clouds…

Here’s the thing with running when it’s rain: it’s not all that much of an issue. Sure, it’s not pleasant if it’s particularly heavy, especially when soaking running kit begins to cling to your skin. But, in truth, the reality in rain is rarely as bad as the thought of running in rain. A bit of rain can even help to keep you cool when you’re running.

Last weekend I did the Great Bristol Half-Marathon, and ran through several short, sharp, heavy showers. And they were good: they helped to keep me cool when otherwise I might have got hot and sweaty (a nod of respect at this point to the enthusiastic Bristol spectators, who kept cheering and clapping in the rain, when many would have been running for cover).

But the worst time for rain? Just before you start running, especially in a race. If you’re cold and wet before you start running, it dampens your motivation to actually go running. Once you start, there’s a certain perverse joy to conquering the conditions. And even a motivation: the quicker the run, the sooner you can get somewhere dry.

Still, if you can time your run to avoid the rain, it’s generally more fun. But if you’re taking part in a race or run that has a set start time, all you can do is keep your fingers crossed…

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