Amazing Kids! Magazine

Rainy Day Science

By Veronica Sturman, Contributing Writer


A rainy day raises the question: run or walk through the rain? Many people have wondered if they would stay drier running or walking through the rain. I decided to run an experiment to try to answer this question. I chose several t-shirts and weighed them each with my chemistry scale in grams to the one decimal place. Then I walked or jogged from my front door to the gate at the end of my driveway and back wearing a different t-shirt each trip. I weighed the shirts afterwards to see how much water they picked up and charted my results.  I divided the difference between the wet and dry shirts by the original dry shirt to weight to figure out the percentage of water weight gain. Then I averaged the results for walking and for running.

The theory is that if you run in the rain, you spend less time in the rain. However, you’re running into rain and getting the front of your body wet as well your head and shoulders. If you walk in the rain, you mostly get your head and shoulders wet, but you spend more time in the rain. The question is how these factors balance out in the end.

My experiment showed that I stayed slightly drier jogging, and I mean slightly! I’m not the first person to try this experiment. Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage from Myth Busters, a show from the Discovery Channel, found that they stayed slightly drier walking.  Scientists from the National Climatic Data Center got similar results to mine. Some experiments show that you stay drier walking and others say that you stay drier running. The data is inconclusive.

My recommendation is that you should walk, if you feel like walking, and run, if you feel like running. I also like to skip and do cartwheels in the rain, but I generally don’t mind getting wet.