Impromptu obstacle courses when running - name your poison!

There's nothing like a pre-storm run to dust off the cobwebs after a testing week slaving over a hot keyboard. So off Mfam trotted, Solveig's 'Jealousy' boosting through her headphones and Blues Busters strapped to her plates of meat. The local countryside has burst into spring, and running through the fields of poppies and vineyards was nothing short of euphoric.

Or it was until I hit the last stretch home, a lane used by the locals for a perfunctory nod at exercise for the sake of their conscience before heading home and hitting the Pastis, peanuts, saucisson and crisps in front of the news.

Tonight, they seem to have all ganged up on me, and pensioners, dog-walkers and parents of toddlers and young children all joined in to provide me with an impromptu obstacle course over the last kilometre of countryside.

I zig-zagged through tutting line-ups of old ladies (they spread all the way across the lane then wave their bunches of wilting poppies at you, as if you're the one at fault), leapt over extendable leads that presumably had dogs attached to them somewhere in the distance, and made emergency stops as road-rage toddlers bombed out of field gateways on their tricycles. My all-time favourite, however, was the scowling little boy licking the dual carriageway of fluorescent snot from his upper lip and waving a big stick at me. I bet he's going to join a French union when he grows up.

What are your favourites?

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36 Replies

  • Ha ha! Had to rather nimbly hurdle an approaching dog once, who after initially looking quite laid back, suddenly decided that something on the other side of the track had to be investigated right then, despite my being in the way! I laughed out loud despite feeling suitably embarrassed and couldn't make eye contact with the owners!😳

  • Dogs are very good at suddenly deciding to cross the road when something or someone is arriving - until then they are bizarrely quite happy to stay put. I prefer to see dogs off the lead here as they generally react faster than their owners to get out of my way. I must be a scary sight.

  • Oh mfam I have missed your posts!

    I crashed right i to the back of someone on Tuesday who refused to move as I was trying to get past & then stopped right in front of me (I think on purpose).....

  • Noaky, you're a diamond. Big hugs to ya, girl. Aren't people daft? Yours sounds like a fully signed-up member of the "bloody runners who think they own the pavement and why can't they run in their garage on a treadmill" brigade.

    What's with the groovy 10k badge? I want one too.

  • You should have one definately!!

    I think there's a pinned post for you to request one. It only appears on this page but you keep your graduate one on the other pages. ☺

    There are marathon & half marathon ones on the big runners page too. 😆

  • 'The big runners' page'? That made me smile. I'm on the big runners' page, but I don't feel like a big runner yet. I would definitely like a 10k badge though.

  • I sneak in occassionaly. I stand quietly in the corner just so nobody notices me 😅

  • Meet you by the bike sheds. We'll skulk together.

  • Oh, what fun!!! I once got a very extended hug from a rather large chocolate lab. I was probably too 'nice' in the circumstances. Can't say I've ever had to dodge toddlers on trikes though - that's hardcore!

  • Cripes, that hurts if you're in shorts. Smelly Dog (my golden retriever) doesn't jump up much, but when she does she leaves dirty footprints and scratches down my legs...

  • He he. Dogs on the trails have been the only real obstacles I have come across to date, aside from one tractor out on a very narrow lane.

    I would have thought not joining a union was a criminal offence en France.

  • Oh, tractors, we get those too, and the mini machines for working in the vineyards.

    As for the French trade unions, they appear to be a dying breed (French people have evolved, and are now quite capable of complaining, striking and chucking bricks through shop windows without the help of a flag-waving, moustache-toting communist), but the few members they do have have decided to take on the government. And as Hollande does not have a scrap of Maggie T in his political DNA, it's getting nasty.

  • Ah the joys of extendable dog leads ! It all adds to the character of a run 😉

  • My favourite was a snake! A big fecker 😀 I thought it was a tree branch. I was storming down the path towards it and had the idea to kick it off the path. As I got closer I decided against it as I'd have probably broken my foot as it was big. It was only when I was almost upon it that it reared up and swivelled it's head towards me. I honestly thought it was a cobra 😮 it scuttled quickly away as I performed a giant leap over it. It's amazing just how high you can jump when needs must.

    It was a grass snake, a fully-grown female, which the ranger informed me can achieve 6 ft 3 ins in length. I know it was north derbyshire but you hear about escaped exotics don't you 😊

  • Not a running story but when we moved into a new house in Singapore and the kids were still toddlers, there was a fountain type thing that needed to be removed from the back garden.

    With the kids playing in the garden and me toting my trusty wrenches and a sledgehammer, I went to pick up a long piece of plastic piping. When I did so something fell out of it, that something then reared at me which caused me to scarper away from it (and away from my kids which is to my eternal shame and amusement).

    Once I had composed myself, I went to see what the hell it was and it was a cobra, not only that it was a spitting cobra which try spit their venom at the face and eyes.

    Not too many spitting cobras in North Derbyshire, missw but better safe than sorry.

  • Yuk snakes. A six footer even if it is a grass snake is not something you want to encounter on a run!

  • I'm surprised - it's a good sign that North Derbyshire is environmentally sound, though. Grass snakes aren't harmful, but it mut have bee a surprise to meet a big one so close up. I'm not scared of snakes - we've got three pythons. Wouldn't want to play with Dunder's cobra chum though, brrr.

  • Ewwwwww the only snakes I can cope with are the furry draft excluder type things (my gran had one we called "nammie nake") But real live proper ones... no thankyouverymuchindeed!!

  • Calculus is a biologist, and he studied snakes for ten years... I was lucky to get away with just three of them at home.

  • Bloody hell ! That would have just freaked me out !!! I cant bear even looking at a photo of a snake !

    I once saw a tiny little grass snake and that was enough to send me screaming to the hills !

    #biggirlsblouse :-D xxx

  • Yer weedy chicken. :)

  • I had to pass an incredibly pissed off dog walker this morning. Everyone in my village appeared to be out running this morning (I don't usually see any others as a rule, but then I am housewife so can run when everyone else is slaving), and this poor lady kept having to get herself and her hound to the side of the path to let us all get by. She was not a happy bunny. I tried to make light of it, thanked her profusely and said 'I bet you must be fed up with runners', hoping for a smile or a roll of the eyes, but no such luck. She was super pissy.

    Hey ho. It makes a nice change to meet a dog walker who actually controls their dog in our village, so if I see her again I shall beam and be as effusively thankful for her amazing dog-control skills as I can be.

  • She'll probably vent her spleen on you as you are the only person who gave her the opportunity to do so :) Let me know how you get on!

  • Yes, I get really fed up of being the bottom of the pecking order all the time because I have a dog with me, especially when people don't say "Thank you"

    We have swans that nest on the towpath but the wildlife trust get the orange netting out sharpish which helps keep the peace. I've also had some interesting moments meeting Highland cattle in dense woodland.

    I feel I may need to enquire very closely of you misswobble of where you saw the snake... I keep thinking one day that me or the dog might fall foul of a basking adder on the moors.

  • Looks like a little politeness goes a long way for keeping the peace. I don't do swans - they're evil buggers. I used to sail, and got attacked by them regularly. I got attacked by cows once too - very scary.

  • My biggest obstacle to date were 2 monster ducks about the size of swans, standing in my path and looking as if there was one thing they had no intention of doing and that was letting me pass. I was weighing up whether to go ahead and try it when I saw a nasty glint in a duck's eye, followed by a slow advance in my direction. I was defeated by this obstacle due to cowardice and the fact that their beaks were on a level with my elbows. I turned tail and fled.

  • A French runner would have taken them home, stuffed them and put them in the oven...

  • Haha don't get between a Frenchman and his food! I did notice that they were heading home for their pastis and CRISPS in your first post. I am weirdly relieved that the French eat crisps, even if they only manage 2.

  • The French even eat flavoured crisps, including Pringles! Over the quarter of a century that I've been rubbing shoulders with the Gallic shrug factor, crisps have gone up in rank on the French menu. My friends here are thrilled by Lay's salt and vinegar... it makes me grin.

  • Ducks! We used to have a pair of geese which I named Darby and Joan. They were an odd couple as they were different breeds. They always strafed me to peck at my bread shoes. Not seen them for ages 😕

  • Mine are the size of geese but blue and green. No idea what they are. I will try and photograph them next time. Some bizarre kind of swan?

  • Maybe they've gone to live on the Costa Brava?

  • How did I miss this post?? You certainly had your fair share of obstacles. My favourite obstacles were the yummy mummy running group I encountered in the park, who ran up and down the best (read flattest) paths pushing very posh Bugaboo strollers. Not only were they impossibly glamorous and thin for people who'd recently given birth but they were also bl**dy fast!

    Happy running Sweetie, I've missed your posts on here xx

  • 'Yummy mummy'? What's that supposed to be? Sounds like a pizza for cannibals. Of course they were skinny - they put all the food budget into their strollers. You made me think of their ad with a top model running with a bugaboo, hand on hip in her knickers and bra. Just like all mums do (not). Then I though of Céleste Barber's take on the ad, running with her kids in a shopping trolley, and now I'm wiping my eyes and wondering how I'm going to get back to work now.

  • Hahaha :D :D have never seen any of Céleste Barber's work before but it did make me laugh (a lot!) xx

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