Mud: A mixture of soil and and water and fine-grained sediment. Run: To move swiftly on foot so that both feet leave the ground during each stride. Peco: A Sunday morning activity for up to 400 people, combining mud and run, along with slip, slide and losing a shoe.
Just over five miles later as I knocked the clods of earth from the ridges in my running shoes, the creases in my tights, the small space between my watch and my wrist and, inexplicably, my earhole, I reflected on the qualities of mud.
I was one of the 400-or-so who had lined up on the windswept common above Wakefield covering what was once an active coal mine for the first of a series of cross country races. They are sponsored by a company that embroiders and prints clothing, but whose owners would rather be doing gnarly stuff, if their website is anything to go by.
I have to confess, I have a bit of a reputation for enjoying muddy conditions to run in, I even organise an informal running session each week, the Mud Club and consider it time well spent if I have to hose my shoes down afterwards. What’s not to like about mud? It makes that lovely sucky noise as your feet break the surface. It moves around underfoot, pushing, pulling or sometimes catapulting an unsuspecting runner. It’s thick or thin, smooth or lumpy, like custard, but of course you can’t run in custard.
There’s another four races in the series which, judging by the torrential rain that just goes on and on, will be a mudrunner’s delight. Ah well, every cloud, eh?