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Tell me if this sounds familiar: You’re getting ready to leave the house, you look outside and it’s not doing much of anything. You open the door and the sky opens up too. You have to go… so what do you do, walk or run? If you run, you’ll get there faster, but will you encounter more raindrops in your hurry?
Several years ago, Thomas Peterson and Trevor Wallis of the National Climatic Data Centre tackled the running versus walking controversy. They went as far as to conduct this experiment:
One rainy day, both men donned identical sweatsuits and hats, which they'd weighed before the test. For added accuracy, they wore plastic garbage bags under the sweatsuits to keep their underclothes from wicking away any water. Then they set out through the downpour on a 100-metre course. Trevor ran – Thomas walked. When they finished, the men weighed their clothes again to find out how much water they'd soaked up. Trevor’s clothing sopped up only 128 grams while Thomas’ clothing had absorbed about 213 grams. The runner stayed drier after 100 metres.
Still, some say that running will cause you to hit more raindrops per second, but fewer drops will land on your head or shoulders. I’m not sure that’s true. Imagine running in the rain, holding a large piece of cardboard horizontally in front of you. As you move forward, drops that would have hit it go behind it and miss the target. However, an equal number of raindrops that would have fallen in front of the cardboard should land on it.
So, taking the front and top into account, running should cause you to meet more drops per second than walking, but will take less time to cover a certain distance. How these two effects balance out remains to be seen.
I say invest in some good rain gear and go for a nice stroll. There’s nothing like a foggy, wet day to clear your head!
Speaking of which, I’m signing off for a week for R &R… rain or shine. I will leave you with a rainy day quote from a music legend: “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain”. Dolly Parton
Have a great week. I’ll be back in the Weather Centre in August.
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Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network