When we think of threats to a runner’s safety we’re often thinking about cars and thieves. But there is another threat that is often overlooked and that is snakes. I’ve had one or two close calls in my time spent running and I would like to share one story that scared me to death and amused me at the same time.
Here’s how it went down:
Before I had a decent amount of running and fitness knowledge I believed that running in the sun made me stronger, fitter and lose weight faster through sweat. Driven by this ignorance I went out for a midday run in the peak of the summer. As usual, it was up Great East Road running towards Chongwe. The heat was killing me but I persisted believing that I could run through this fire and not get burnt. It wasn’t long before the heat sent one slippery serpent in my direction from across the road. What I witnessed that day was shocking! We’re told that snakes slither in an S shape, correct? Flat and along the surface with the head moving from side to side, right? This snake moved the same, except it was in an inverted S shape ‘doing the worm’ with its head bobbing up and down! It hurriedly headed towards me and my side of the road. I presume this awkward and unnatural movement pattern was caused by the blazing heat and hot road surface. I only noticed the serpent one or two meters away when it sprung at my feet! At that point I jumped back and into the road and the snake proceeded into the bush to my side. I was confused, scared and amused all at the same time! Anyway, I left this episode unscathed but on another day it could’ve ended differently. I’m thankful for God’s grace and now I pay better attention to my surroundings. You should too.
My personal advice when you encounter a snake on a run:
Be safe on every run. Don’t let a snake mistake your running shoe lace for a rat’s tail.