There’s nothing quite like running in the rain. The combination of the cooling droplets kissing your skin, and the smug knowledge that you’re clearly some sort of level-nine badass.

But there’s a downside, and I’m worried that it’s just me.

I’ll be out there, running along, oblivious to anything nature can throw at me1. My gaze will be levelled firmly ahead, because if I hunch over even slightly, it might look like I’m trying to shy away from the downpour. I’m not. I’m bloody not. I revel in the sweet traction of my feet on the wet pavement as I power through the miles. And then…



Scrnch scrnch.



By the time I’ve realised what’s happening, I’ve already flattened a dozen or so of the snails who were innocently squirming2 their way from one side of the footpath to the other. Every time I go out in the rain, I see the same thing. Dozens, hundreds of the little slimy blighters, all on some inexplicable pilgrimage to the promised land at the other side of the pavement.



Phlutt (that one was a rogue slug)

As soon as I realise what’s happening, I always try to avoid further carnage, but when I swerve mid-stride to avoid one snail, I usually end up stepping on three or four more. This sudden sideways diagonal movement has the added bonus of making me look like that bloke who was tasered during the quarter-finals of the East Midlands hopscotch championships.

But why do they do this?

Why is it only when it’s been raining?

Is there some mythical snail paradise over there on the far side of the footpath that only appears when things get a little bit damp?

How do snails even know when it’s been raining? Surely snails live in a state of perpetual moistness because THAT’S WHAT THEY’RE MADE OF!!

What makes it worse is the fact that, for some reason, a large proportion of these kamikaze gastropods seem to be tiny little baby ones. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a baby snail, other than when I’m about to inadvertently smush one into oblivion. Is it a rite of passage? Does some wise old bearded Grandpa snail sit them on his knee3 and solemnly tell them how they must earn their shell by “braving the wrath of The Oafish Clumsy One”?

I just don’t know. And I probably never will, because finding out about the migratory habits of snails would probably involve talking to a snail enthusiast, and if I talked to someone who was prepared to identify themselves as a snail enthusiast, then I’d jolly well have to just kill myself.

As I type this, something’s just occurred to me…

What if I’m the only one who experiences this phenomenon? And what if the reason it’s just me, is that the snail is, in fact, my spirit animal.

Oh my god. It all makes sense now.

The speed.

The agility.

The fondness for cheese and stand-up comedy (okay, we’ve already established that I don’t know much about snails)

The fact that too much salt would kill me.

Oh well, I just have to bury my snail-genocide guilt under the thought that if God had wanted me to not tread on snails, he would have given them hi-viz yellow shells and made them the size of a ford transit.

(Why did I let that image pop into my head? I’m never going to sleep again).


Oh, come on!

1 Not strictly true. I’d probably notice a brontosaurus.

2 Insofar as it’s possible for anything to squirm innocently.
3 Yeah yeah, I know.  Snails.


Hello nice blog-reading person. That’s an ace jumper you’re wearing. Really brings out the colour of your ears. Anyway, cards on the table, there are actually only two people who read this blog: You, and a trainee Dutchman called Mike Van den Vanvan. It’d be great if you could spread the word and share some links to your favourite posts on the Facebookses or the twitters. Or maybe you could scrawl “born to plod = ace” on a bedsheet and tie it to a busy roundabout. The Internet has promised me a basket of kittens for every million hits I get, and I’m hoping to get enough to start a farm. Ta. 

11 thoughts on “Scrnch!

  1. Lol … for me it is worms! I suppose rain is to snails what downhills are for runners! Really enjoyed reading your post and am glad it does not rain here, so I better go run now.

  2. Gardeners everywhere will be eternally grateful to you for squashing snails, which exist solely to munch their tender hostas and lettuces. Free yourself of guilt and shame.

    • I feel 40% better after reading that. But still keep imagining little orphan snails wailing “whhhhhyyyy????”

  3. Hahahaha!! Made my Friday!
    For me it’s frogs. Not whilst running – while cycling. There’s me, cycling in the rain, feeling that smugness you felt. Is that a leaf? Looks like a leaf, there’s lots of them, hmmm must be a sick tree around, Schpop! Frog dissection by bicycle tyre!! BRAKES!!! I can’t put my foot down, that leaf just hopped away……flump as I fall into the road!
    Thankfully it only happens during April/May so I try to stay off my bike outside during that period. But still!! WHY!!!

      • Oh, swimming, open water…….shudder!!! That’s not because it’s cold either!!
        Slimy algae with a cocktail of fresh water leeches for you? No? How about a selection of small animal corpses with a side of grass cuttings? Still not interested? Even better, go for a swim in the sea and be the only person to find a jelly fish chasing you back to shore!! Those things aren’t supposed to swim fast! I’m sure it was swimming faster than I was thrashing my way back to the beach!
        There’s beasties out in the water, just waiting!!!

  4. Hi! Went to share this on Twitter but can’t find you Twitter handle anymore. Are you still on there? 😃

  5. We don’t seem to have snail problems in this part of the US, but when I was recently in the UK I did my part to help them along the slimy escalator to their promised land. Escargone. Scrnch!

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