A wet 3000m race at the Temasya Olahraga Tahunan USM 2014. Photo credits: Suhaib Alrumy.

January 2017 was composed mostly of rainy days in Penang.

Fat and gloomy clouds heavily pregnant with drops of water and lightning conveniently crossed the skies in Butterworth after I took my tea, which is the time I usually lace up my shoes to run.

Fresh from a month’s break of staying off my feet, I was chomping at the bits to do some running, but alas, the weather did not cooperate with my plans. I am afraid of thunderstorms. I have clocked many personal bests by running away from lightning and roiling black clouds.

Giving the skies the benefit of the doubt, I skipped a day of running by staying at home and doing nothing. I was fortunate to have a stationary bicycle at home, loaned generously by my mother. So when it rained again on Day Two, I spent my evening spinning away while watching the television.


Day Three was no different from Day Two. By then, I was already itching to run. I spent another day cycling at home.

I was dismayed when Day Four arrived, as the heavens have not stopped pouring. I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to take the day off, and probably the next few days too.

Imagine my surprise when the rain reduced to a slight drizzle late in the evening. I had a minor debate in my head. Should I take the risk and run, or should I stay at home and wait for the weather to dry out?

The runner won the argument. I leapt into my running shoes and quickly made a dash outside should the weather decide to change her mind.

The weather was chilly that evening. I ran easy along the Butterworth Outer Ring Road, and tried my best to stay out of the mud and water pools. It was an obstacle course. My shoes were ruined.

They were an old pair anyway, I tried to convince myself.

The sky was overcast with grey clouds that stretched all the way to Penang Island and beyond. There were no vehicles on the highway. There were no sightseers along the beach. There was no one else along the entire stretch.

I felt alone in all that gloom.

Who would be crazy enough to pull a stunt like this, I thought to myself.

Suddenly, in the far distance, I saw a figure bouncing along the road.

I squinted, and sure enough, it was a runner.

Feeling a sudden sense of camaraderie, I waved as we passed each other. He waved back and gave a big smile.

A heavy drizzle began just a short while later. I waved to another two runners as I ran back home in the rain.

Who would be crazy enough to pull a stunt like this anyway, but a runner?

I smiled to myself.


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