You’d think the 30-minute shower with the heat turned to 11 and the spray set at ‘feels like razor-sharp needles’ would remove even the stubbornest of mud. That’s what I thought as I watched dirt, grit, clumps of grass and small invertebrates disappear down the plughole, shortly before it was blocked by a small boulder which had lodged itself between my toes.
But no, the fluffy white towel was transformed into a muddy mess, I’d missed a bit, in fact I’d missed a lot. It’s going to be trouser time this week, I can’t be seen in meetings with muddy legs.
All around Yorkshire, plugholes have been blocked and cleared out and towels dirtied as runners from the first Peco cross country of the year de-mudded. We’d already been warned that after all the recent rain, the course near the former Vickers tank factory in Leeds would be a mudfest.
Yet there we were on Sunday morning, 700 of us, squeaky clean, sparkly and ready to run. Just to make it a bit more interesting, a few tanks had been borrowed from Vickers to churn up any unchurned parts of the course. And what with a couple of waterjumps, mud would very much be the order of the day.
Always being nearer the back than the front, I was running where 699 had trod before. Mud was everywhere, all I could hear was splishety splashety spolshety and the occasional curse as someone slipped, never to be seen again, though it did mean I moved up a place. No-one said cross country was a safe sport.
I collected a lot of mud and other debris, but amazingly didn’t fall. Well, there’s always next time, which I am very much looking forward to. Though I may have to buy new towels.