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Running and dogs

May 14, 2010

The man on the trail asked me if I had seen a loose dog. No, I haven’t I told him and hurried along. He was shouting the dog’s name in despair. It was supposed to be a fast timed run on a 50 min trail loop, to get an idea where I am. But I was thinking about the lost dog so I stopped and turned back. Because once I stumbled upon a dead dog in the snow in the same area. Judging from the tracks in the snow it had crawled and finally frozed to death under a tree. Needless to say it wasn’t a nice feeling and I have been avoiding the site since then. A few months ago while running with 2 friends we met a lost dog. It was a hunting dog carrying a tracking device so we left it, but not without concern. However this time I wasn’t going to let it slip. It was time to let go of the ego. In perspective the run I was on didn’t really matter. The man had been looking for three hours already. It had suddenly vanished. It was cold and rainy. As it turned out I had brought my mobile phone and got his phone number so I could reach him.

Dog powered running. But dogs follow their instincts rather than the trail. Photo: F Ö

They were shooting at the shooting range. Could he had been frightened? Or what about if he’d picked up a trace? Dogs have their own ways, moving free in nature like the animals they are. I started running in circles around the area getting further away, alerting other runners about the missing dog. What if it was a human? A child?

As a runner you are exposed to dogs. When running in San Martin de los Andes in Patagonia, Argentina I was chased by a mean looking dog. He didn’t stop until I stopped and barked furiously at him with a stint gaze. Running in the hillside favelas of Quito (at 2800m) during another trip I met some angry dogs, but luckily I’ve never been attacked.
Trail running with dogs is really great. Some dogs are very keen and run ahead in all kinds of directions. Once during Raid World Championship in Argentina there was a stray dog accompanying one of the teams during a whole mountaineering section on a glacier, only to follow them for a while on the bike section into Chile.

Three hours later, about 9pm, it was getting darker and I was cold and tired. Instead of a fast 50 min run it had become a long run. As I was getting hungry I headed back home. Just when I got back home I got a message from the man with the lost dog. The dog, “Bosse”, was retrieved and safe.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Fredrika permalink
    May 14, 2010 16:53

    Wonderful story. I actually had one of my best runs with two friendly wild stray dogs in Greece some year ago. They just picked up my pace and kept on running along by my side. Such a beautiful experience of one-ness with your inner animal when running! 🙂

    • fredrikolmqvist permalink*
      May 15, 2010 11:28

      yeah, I think the path to trail running nirvana is about unleashing your inner dog:-)

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