We’re a bit early for our December running buddy, but I was just so impressed with Charlie the West Highland White Terrier, I had to post his story. Charlie lives in Yorkshire, England and has a personal best for the half marathon (21.1km) of 1 hour 44 minutes. His owner, Adam Abel, wrote this post.
Charlie is about 2.5 years old. We re-homed him in summer 2010 when he was 1. How the previous owners could gave him up I have no idea, as he’s just the cutest and well behaved little bundle of energy. I think that’s probably where the problem lay though, as he has a LOT of energy, so needs a LOT of exercise to burn it off. Sure, he will sleep all day if you let him but after a couple of days he goes stir crazy sat around the house.
So, after a few months of long walks in the Yorkshire countryside I decided at the age of 38 I needed to get fit, and took up running again last Autumn after a 10 year break. As I was starting pretty much from scratch with a C25K program I didn’t think it would be an issue taking Charlie along, despite him being below the age many vets recommend starting them running. Let’s face it, on a 5 mile walk he runs about 10 miles back and forth it I let him, so a 3 mile jog/walk at my slow pace wouldn’t do any harm.
So Charlie has been my running partner for a little over a year. In that time I’ve gone from a half hour walk/jog to running a 10k in just over 40 minutes & HM in 1:42, and Charlie has been with me practically every step of the way. He’s not done any races, but he does all but a very few of my training runs, including a 1:44 Half Marathon rehearsal run. The only times he doesn’t come are if it’s extremely hot out (not often in Yorkshire!) or if I am doing a fartlek or similar, as he gets frustrated with the constant pace changes. The rest of the time he LOVES it and I love having him around. He’s the perfect running partner, happy to go for a PB, or a long slow training run, and never complains I’m running too fast (but he did complain I was too slow in the early days!). On the tougher days when I really can’t be arsed he gives me a reason to get out in the first place, and some gentle encouragement on the trail. I just wish he’d learn to go before we get going, as stopping to clean up after him wrecks my average pace!
The vet confirmed at his last check up that he is as fit as a runner’s dog, and has no issues caused by running early in life as we were sensible and built things up slowly. He’s also one of the best behaved dogs either the vet or myself have met, which I’m sure is at least partly down to the balance running brings to his life. So we are both fighting fit and busy training for my next race, a half marathon in January. In the mean time my wife, Lisa wondered what the fuss is about and has taken up running too since this summer, so some days Charlie gets a gentle warm up with her and the lead handed over to me at the door when they get back. So far he’s got her up to running 10k where she got under the hour for the first time last month!
I just need to figure out how I am going to get him enrolled on a UK Atheletics coaching course now!