Today i took part in
Which is a 5 k or 3 miles roughly event where you can run, walk or jog with your dog. It is organised by a couple and their dog Zola :). This is only the second event they have held.
The race was £15 to enter, but they had teamed up with guide dogs too so there was an option to donate £1 up to £10 when you signed up. Guide dogs also had some little capes that a dog could wear and some badges and leads for a suggested donation today itself as well, but i’m getting ahead of myself.
I got the train to Central station today which got me in at about a quarter to 10. I met a puppywalker there who i hang about with quite a lot. Her pup didn’t want to be a guide dog so she kept her. Ushi associates the puppywalker with free running so she was hugely excited when she saw her.
We arrived at Tullymore forest which was where the race was being held at about 10 to 11 ish. Tullymore is near new castle in county down.
There were hundreds of dogs. Well there were 181 participants as we were the last to go and we had our race numbers and wrist bands on. There might have been more dogs as some people had more than one dog. The runners were released first, then the joggers, then us the walkers. There were only about 12 people walking as most of the entrants seemed to be jogging or running. I didn’t know that when someone runs with their dog they wear a harness that attaches to the runners waist and if either of them fall, the harness will release so that nobody gets hurt.
Before we set off, we visited the guide dogs stand where i tried on the head of the dog suit we have for fundraising. It was so hot and claustrophobic. The community fundraiser had the whole thing on but she had to take it off since all the dogs were over surrounding her lol. They must have thought it was a cudley toy lol!
After that, it was our turn to go. I was a bit worried as the puppywalker was in a different lane, so she was meant to go after me, but she walked beside me which was good. Of course after we started, miss Ushi decided she needed a poo stop. Right after the starting line. Thankfully nobody else was coming behind us lol.
The first part of the route was through a field which wasn’t too bad, but there were some parts when we were in the forest part. We had to kind of hoik ourselves up some bits as they were like big major tree routes and bits that sort of went up and down a hill. Kind of a hump, i suppose you would call it.
A map of the route is
So you can see where exactly we went. Most of it was good, but some parts were challenging.
We finished in about an hour, which is slightly longer than when i do my parkrun :). My Ushi worked the whole thing and was fabulous. She did play up a little after we had done one of the harder parts, but soon got back on track. What was interesting was that Ritzie, the puppywalkers pup walked nicely the whole way, as long as she could be beside Ushi. It made me sad that she didn’t want to work seeing her with Ushi in harness.
There was a sign at one point for a water stop for the dogs. It was a little stream. There must be a spring that runs down from the morn mountains.
The event was extremely well organised with poo bags and buckets to put your used poo bags in at every kilometre or so. There were marshils at every kilometre as well as bright orange signs to show people where to go. There was also a vet on standby and a doctor for the humans. There was water at the end for the doggies and humans, as well as big basins of water if the dogs fancied a paddle which Ushi and Ritzie didn’t. They also had goody bags for the dogs which were kindly donated by Jollyes Pet stores. There was a royhide crockadile, a 10 percent off voucher from Jollyes, two packets of chews, a packet of 10 poo bags and a grooming guide from a place called Tidy tails. There were also prizes given out. Me and Ushi got one because we were the only guide dog team there :). I got a thing called a “Buff” which says waggy races on it. It is like a Snood which is like a scarf type wrist band type neck protector thingie. Ushi got a gigantic dog cooky from a local dog bakery. It’s about the size of a medium plate i would say! So she can have a piece every day as i’d be worried that she would gorge herself if i gave her the whole thing.
While we were waiting for the prizes, we all sat on the grass to chill and catch our breath. I took Ushi’s harness off and she started to play with Ritzie. It was full on playing too so we just lengthened their leads and let them have a rump as it was quite challenging for them, well Ushi anyway since she was guiding.
I would like to thank the organisers Neil and Ruth for organising the event so well. It was fantastic and a lot of work must have gone in to it. And thank you for supporting guide dogs!
Afterwards we went to a nice caffe called the Belvadeer where i had Steak and veg pie with mashed potatoes.
We took the girls to a place called the giants ring after but they were both tuckered out.
It was a fabulous day and i would like to thank the puppywalker and her husband for doing such an excellent job guiding me on the tricky parts. Ushi is pure cream crackered now :).