It was a DNF for the RRCA coach certification clinic


OIl and WaterCover

Detail of painting Oil and Water, acrylic on board, by Christopher Cudworth. 

The best intentions sometimes don’t work out. Last Friday night I held an art opening for my solo show “Urban Wilds” at Water Street Studios. People liked the work and visitors were still arriving at 7:30 p.m., but I was scheduled to leave for a drive to Ann Arbor that evening at 8:00.


Under normal conditions, the trip was supposed to take just over four hours. I’d planned to leave by 8:00 and arrive by midnight, then get up to attend the running coach certification course held by the Road Runner’s Club of America.

I’d done my homework. Watched the required video on Vimeo about the history of running coaches. I already knew them by heart, for the most part. Arthur Lydiard. Percy Cerutty. These were the guys who informed our training in the early 1970s. However, I never purchased a pair of Lydiard-brand shoes because they were $70 at the time. How times have changed.

I was excited to take the course but a bit concerned about the drive east. When I signed up the art show dates were not set. But then they synced up with that Friday and I decided to make do.


Storm Path.png

The storm path was approximately 100 miles wide and headed in a northeasterly direction. 

There was one problem. Big storms were pushing through the Chicago area and up into western Michigan. The skies were dumping boatloads of rain as I climbed in the car to start driving. I made it all the way to Woodridge, about 30 miles southeast, before pulling off I-355 to look at the radar on the Weather Channel app.


It did not deliver good news. The rain storm was coming from the southwest and heading on a continual, broad path in the exact same direction I’d be heading on Route 80 to 94 and up in to Michigan.

While sitting in the car on the road shoulder next to the tool booth, my phone made a strange sound and a FLASH FLOOD ADVISORY came up. That equated to a DNF in my book. It would be too stressful to drive through that weather for hours without relief.

I took one last look at the radar. The band of dark green indicating rain clouds was at least 100 miles wide and flowing like a river northward over the path I needed to drive. I sat there with a sigh. Then I called the hotel in Ann Arbor and told them it was impossible for me to make it that evening. So they cancelled my room. Thank you, Candlewood Suites.

Then I emailed the clinic organizers and explained the situation. It simply wasn’t advisable to attempt that drive at that time of night in what would likely be driving rain for the next three hours. I hope they’ll let me apply my course fees as a credit for a future seminar.


Oil and Water 2.jpg

Oil and Water 2, Original Painting by Christopher Cudworth, for the show Urban Wilds. 

As a younger idiot I might have attempted that long drive in the rain. But I’m an older idiot now who possesses a dose of common sense. So I turned around and headed back home.


Only I had gotten myself so pumped to do the drive it was difficult to get to sleep. So the DNF on the RRCA turned into a CNS (Could Not Sleep) night of fitful rest.

But I still got up and rode 30 miles with my buddies, who were fortunately a bit hung over from a class reunion the night before. So we rode 16 mph and called it a morning.

The funny thing about the entire evening was the strange resemblance between my painting Oil and Water and the image of the weather from Friday night. There indeed seemed to be some sort of flow going on, and a lesson that life isn’t always what you want to make of it.



About Christopher Cudworth

Christopher Cudworth is a content producer, writer and blogger with more than 25 years’ experience in B2B and B2C marketing, journalism, public relations and social media. Connect with Christopher on Twitter: @genesisfix07 and blogs at, and Online portfolio:
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1 Response to It was a DNF for the RRCA coach certification clinic

  1. Pingback: On the road with the Road Runners Club of America | We Run and Ride

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