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President’s Corner – March

My three-year old son discovered a new track and field event on TV: the Puddle Jump.

It’s kind of like the opposite of the steeplechase.  Instead of trying to jump over puddles, you jump in them, and as in the long jump, athletes are scored based upon distance.  However, the distance in the Puddle Jump is distance the mud flew.

My son made the startling discovery one day while perusing Nick Jr. on TV.  Peppa Pig was watching a track and field competition with her family when they witnessed one of the United Kingdom’s best track and field athletes smash the work record for puddle jumping.

The color commentator noted that the old world record belonged to none other than the legendary George Pig, Peppa’s father.  Somewhat disturbed that his record was broken by such a large margin, George Pig decided to come out of retirement and regain the record.

Back in his day, George Pig was like the Michael Johnson of puddle jumping.  Just in case you’re not familiar with Michael Johnson, the man was heads and shoulders better than any of his competitors in both the 200 and the 400.  Furthermore, he hi-lited his competitive brilliance (and some would say arrogance) by wearing golden shoes: namely, racing flats died gold.

Of course, George Pig had been out of competition so long that he decided to give away his signature shoes when he retired.  He actually gave them to his father, who, in turn, had no idea what to do with them.  Unlike the son, the father placed no premium on the shoes, so he began using them as pots for his tomato plants.

So now that George Pig was coming out of retirement and unexpectedly called up his Dad, requesting the golden shoes, his father, somewhat embarrassed about using them to pot plants, obligingly returned them after a good cleansing.  One of the funnier parts of the story was that as George trained and trained, he noted on several occasions how the shoes smelled like tomatoes.

Given that the show was only twenty minutes long, George managed to regain the record in his first meet since returning from retirement.  When he jumped into the puddle of mud at the meet, he managed to splash every bit of mud quite a long distance, some of it even hitting the announcers sitting in the booth.

After the show, my son was raring to go outside, as I would’ve expected after such a spectacle.  However, if he wants to go out I’d prefer it be for cross-country, not Puddle Jumping.

Interestingly enough, it seems he may have plenty of company.   The sport of recreational running is branching out into many other types of running other than the traditional three: roads, trails, and track.  There are obstacle courses, adventure races, 24-hour runs, and yes, mud races.

I don’t know if Puddle Jumping holds any promise of becoming a legitimate field event, although if one of the young viewers of that program grows up to be a race director or track official, it may just happen.  That person could be my son.

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