I’ve become such an expert in puddles that I’ve developed a puddle rating system. There isn’t a run in the past couple of months that hasn’t been either splishy, splashy or sploshy, with a plethora of puddles. So it’s essential to recognise what they have in store. It could make the difference between staying upright – or going apex over base
My yet-to-be-named system, which I really must patent, takes into account size, depth, water colour, splashability, smell and, because I like running in the countryside, aesthetic quality. It also has a fall factor rating on a range of 1 (low chance of a tumble) to 5 (oh yes, you’re going down, just make sure you don’t bang your head)
First there’s the puddlettes, or small puddles. Shallow, hardly splashy and whiff-free, no larger than my size eights, they usually score a 1. Then there’s the puddles that form in ruts left by bikes and vehicles, or ruddles as I’ve called them. Long and narrow, possibly holding a small amount of slurry plopped from a passing tractor, they too have a low fall factor score, maybe a 2 if you trip.
But then there’s the joined-up lake-size puddles, or luddles. They are so big, they have their own ecosystem, frogs spawn there, moorhens build nests, children sail small boats. The fall factor is up to 11. These were the luddles on the Temple Newsam Ten this weekend, though by some miracle I didn’t even slip. Maybe it’s something to do with embracing the puddle in all its splashiness.
There were 800 or so runners set off and most of those directly in front of me tried to skirt them, slipping and tripping over the edge of the luddle shore. One guy just ahead of me went full length as he tried to avoid the wetness, he succeeded, though the mud got him. Others did a fancy dance as they slipped and skidded in the muddy vegetation, I think one girl did the splits, which was very impressive at that stage in the race. Armed with my intimate puddle rating system, I judged this to have a fall factor of 5, but I just ploughed straight on through anyway, getting wet (again) but staying upright….until the next time.