There’s nothing like a bit of mud to separate fair-weather runners from the rest. This autumn – in London at least – has seen some sparklingly cold days with not a cloud in the sky. I think I might even have got a tan.
The trade-off has been a deluge almost once a week that has turned most footpaths to sludge and emptied the pavements of all by the hardiest of runners, although my son braved the elements to get the pub, albeit dressed for the North Pole. For some, slipping and sliding is not their idea of fun, but for those who see it all part of the game, there is one race in the UK that you have to have a go at.
The Round Rotherham 50 mile ultra took place, until last year, in December. The weather was almost guaranteed to be at its worst, and the farmers were said to have ploughed the fields the weekend before – especially for the runners. It was glorious. The gun went off at 6am, and we crossed field after field around Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield, in the pouring rain, crossing the finish line 12 hours later.
The weather in 2008 was so bad that they have since moved the race to October, which I only just found out, otherwise I would have posted about it in time for those who were keen to enter. I arrived in a £200 Gortex jacket, bought at the excellent Run and Become shop, fearful of what I was not used to. However, most of those who ran were there in shorts and the flimsiest rain-proof coats, many of which were torn after years of running through bramble hedges.
All of which reminds me, sat now in the warmth listening to a combination of the rain on the window and the boy’s hiccups of the hippopotamus song. Remember it? ‘Mud, mud, glorious mud…’
So, for all those out there clutching tightly to their precious tickets for next year’s London Marathon, if you are waiting for the sun to start shining again, don’t hesitate – get out there today – the weather forecast is appalling!