We had a great night at the Twilight Half Marathon last weekend, it’s one of the few dog friendly runs here in Brisbane. Cinnabar, Guinness and Bobbie were running in the half marathon, and we were delighted to see another dog in the event – a small white fluffy dog running fast in what I suspect was the 10km race. I’m always happy to see dogs running, and particularly smaller breeds whose abilities are often underestimated.
What did concern me was that this little dog was running fast, amongst a reasonably sized group of other runners. Even though the dog was extremely well behaved, I feel he was still a trip hazard. He was amongst a lot of flying legs and was small enough such that runners may not have seen him. If there had been an accident involving the dog, it would have jeopardised our participation in the run in future, as well as caused injury and possibly led to a runner missing out on a personal best that they hard worked very hard to achieve.
Here are our suggestions for fun run/race etiquette if you’re bringing your canine running buddy along.
1. Stay at the back at the start and as the field thins out and people start to fall behind, then you can move up. Make sure you keep your dog away from other runners, not just because of the trip hazard, but because some people don’t like/are afraid of dogs and would rather not be too close.
2. At the drink stops, pull over either before or after, instead of stopping at the table. That way you can get a drink for yourself and your dog without blocking the flow of runners past the volunteers holding the cups.
3. If it looks like your dog is going to poop or pee, then move right over to the side so you don’t get in the way of other runners. It goes without saying that you pick up any droppings and carry them with you to the next bin.
4. Go at a pace that’s comfortable for your dog. You’re not likely to set a personal best if running with your dog, and if that’s your goal then leave him at home for this race.
Have I missed anything? Can you think of other things dog runners can do to show courtesy to other runners?