Thursday, 2 August 2012

Bothersome bugs!

We welcomed yet another new lady for a try out with the club, she had actually been to club for the first time the week before whilst the majority of us were at the Golden Acre Park relay.  She was introduced to the Wednesday night group as Hazel.  We warmed up and set out towards the canal towpath with a choice of three distances ahead of us, all out and back and totalling 11, 8 or just over 5 miles.  I opted for the middle one and under the grey clouds we settled into various groups and pairings.  I went out with Ghizala whom I've found recently on some runs I can keep up with.  We seemed to be keeping quite a good pace, arriving at the turn around point for the shortest run Ghizala stopped with a view to turning back.  I admire her so much for keeping up with her training even though she is fasting during Ramadan. I continued on towards the next turn around point in Shipley.  A few minutes later, slap! A fly landed in my eye, I continued to run and tried my best to eject it.  Arriving in Shipley I still had the resident fly which by now was becoming irritating.  Marc made several attempts to remove it without success.  I had no option but to try fashion an 'eye bath' by squirting water from my drinking bottle into my eye.  After two flushes out it came much to my relief! We set off on our return journey and a while later came across the group doing the shorter run, they had decided to run a little further and meet up with us.  I began chatting to Hazel about walking the Three Peaks and running half marathons and before we knew it we were back at Apperley Bridge.  All in all a good paced out and back run.

Recently I've been doing a little reading into bothersome bugs as we have had quite a few club members being bitten whilst out running, blaming off road running initially, all that changed when we visited Horsfall track on Thursday and the pesky insects were out and biting again!  It seems there's all sorts of theories on the subject as to why some people get bitten and others don't, particularly by mosquitoes which incidentally I have always associated with warmer climes and was shocked to learn there are over 35 species in the UK! Theory has it that all humans emit kairomones, common ones include C02 and lactic acid.  It's thought that we all have our own kairomone signature which is probably unique to the individual in the same way as our fingerprints and different species prefer different kairomones just as some people prefer spicy and others don't!  Very plausible since we 'gasp' half the time we are out running so must emit more carbon dioxide than most and also it's a known fact that lactic acid is produced whilst running.

So why when we all have the common factors which attract them don't we all get bitten? Well, it's thought that some people have certain chemicals in their blood, sweat and tears which act as a repellent and some of these naturally produced molecules may also be masking individual kairomones in the same way as incognito anti-mosquito spray camouflages users! So my sympathies to those who were bitten in the last few weeks, I know some of them are suffering terrible after effects but it may be worth their while to undertake some steps to camouflage themselves and keep experimenting to find what works for them as what works for one person may not necessarily work for everybody!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
kairomone is a semiochemical, emitted by an organism, which mediates interspecific interactions in a way that benefits an individual of another species which receives it, without benefiting the emitter.[1] This "eavesdropping" is often disadvantageous to the producer (though other benefits of producing the substance may outweigh this cost, hence its persistence over evolutionary time). The kairomone improves the fitness of the recipient and in this respect differs from an allomone (which is the opposite: it benefits the producer and harms the receiver) and a synomone (which benefits both parties). The term is mostly used in the field of entomology (the study of insects). Two main ecological cues are provided by kairomones; they generally either indicate a food source for the receiver, or the presence of a predator, the latter of which is less common or at least less studied.[1]

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