Adventure Nomad

Adventure Nomad

Thursday, December 13, 2007

From 0 to 100: Let it Rain

This series of articles tracks my progress to run a 100km Ultramarathon from zero training in just 4 months. Present weekly mileage: 35km

Here in Sunny Singapore, the North East Monsoon is upon us. It’s been raining every day for the past two weeks. And I mean RAIN as in tropical deluge. Still the training must continue, rain or shine. Two of the biggest dangers with running in a tropical thunderstorm are:

1. Being Struck By Lightning
2. Being Crushed By Falling Trees

Whilst training for an adventure race a few years back, my teammates and I were beaching our kayaks when a bolt of lightning toasted a coconut tree on shore about 50m away. We were out of the boats in shallow water and felt a strong jolt electrical current. We were lucky.

Singapore has the highest rate of lightning strikes in the world. The general advice when caught in a thunderstorm is to get out of the water, or get off your bike, or ditch your golf clubs and umbrella. Find low ground, stay low, crouch down and make yourself small. You are ok in a forest, but stay away from isolated tall trees, metal fences, and high ground.

Our other big concern is being crushed by falling trees or deadfall during a thunderstorm. This year in Singapore, 2 people were killed in separate incidents by trees felled by strong winds and heavy rain at two different nature parks.

The wind and heavy rain makes it difficult to hear and being pelted in the face makes it difficult to look up and around. That’s no excuse. You need to be very aware of your surroundings and what’s going on around you. If you’re plugged in to your iPod and got your eyes fixed on the slippery trail, you are not helping yourself. Trees will fall, whether you happen to be in the way or not.

Driving back home is another adventure. Oh, by the way, a flash flood warning for low-lying areas is in effect until Christmas. Be safe.

Photo: Pentax Optio WR43, 5.7mm, 1/60 f2.8, ISO 100

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