When it rains, should you run?

Here’s a dilemma that I’ve pondered more times than (a) I care to remember and (b) the vast majority of other people in the world (I expect).

When it is raining, you are bereft of an umbrella and have a fixed distance to go, should you run or walk to your destination?

I usually think about this when the heavens have opened, my umbrella is safely tucked away in the cupboard at home, and the dilemma is in full effect. However, given the relative complexity of the maths involved, I’ve never come up with an answer.

By running, for every minute you’re out in the rain, you get wetter than you would do walking, as there is a greater surface area of your body exposed to the rain, assuming it’s falling vertically. Instead of just your head and shoulders receiving the brunt of the downpour, the full front of your body is now getting drenched.

On the other hand, if you’re running, the total elapsed time exposed to the rain is diminished, as you reach your warm, dry destination sooner. The question is this: is the reduction in the overall drench-time sufficient to outweigh the associated increase in the drench-rate?

Well, here’s the answer, somewhat over-simplified but valid nonetheless. Apparently, it pays to run like the wind. Unless, of course, the shower ends before you reach your destination, in which case you’re a damp squib.


2 Responses to “When it rains, should you run?”

  1. Shanahan on December 29th, 2005 04:48

    You should definitely run but in a crouched position, don’t you know how much acid is in rain these days? Also, serpentine is important.

  2. Dan on December 29th, 2005 09:45


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