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Race Recap: 2016 Walk / Run For The Animals (Vancouver)

Dozens of bipedal runners and walkers joined a large variety of their canine friends for the 25th Walk / Run For The Animals on May 7th at Esther Short Park in Vancouver. In addition to the dogs of all shapes, sizes, and dispositions, a large turtle riding in a wagon and two regal looking llamas also joined the fun. The event, a fundraiser for The Humane Society For Southwest Washington, took runners on an out-and-back course toward the river, over the land bridge, and along the paths of Fort Vancouver, before turning around on 5th Street. A lead cyclist, friendly volunteers, and strategically placed cones kept the humans and dogs moving smoothly, for the most part. The walkers stayed along the waterfront, avoiding the land bridge, and further reducing congestion.

I was happy to see Turbo, a speedy yellow lab, and his running partner Andrew pawing and toeing the line, respectively, again this year. Turbo was anxious to get going, but sat patiently at the start until the countdown hit zero, then bolted into a quick lead. Disaster almost struck in the first few meters when Turbo and Andrew sprinted toward opposite sides of a large lamppost in an attempt to avoid some spectators on the course. But Andrew let go of the leash just in time, and after a couple seconds, the duo regathered themselves and pulled away from the pack.

I was running solo (my two cats decided to sleep in at home) and I quickly settled into a solid but comfortable pace. It was already pretty warm by the 9:00a start time, but a slight breeze made it tolerable. I got up and over the land bridge a little easier than usual compared to the many other races that use similar courses, and could see Andrew and Turbo still pushing the pace along the path and down 5th Street.

Once I made the turnaround it was nice to see the other two- and four-legged runners enjoying the sunny spring morning and getting some brisk exercise. Everyone seemed very well-behaved, although there was some inevitable excited barking and greeting. The dogs were very well-mannered too! 😉

I powered my way back over the land bridge as best I could, and braced myself for the last three or four block climb back toward Esther Short Park and the finish. I crossed the line and caught my breath, and gratefully accepted a popsicle from a woman from one of the sponsors tents. Turbo headed straight for the fountain to cool off.

Women’s champion Stephanie Lowe and her dog Harley finish the 2016 Run For The Animals (Huber Timing photo)

Close on our heels was the first woman, Stephanie, and her dog Harley, a chihuahua-whippet mix. Unlike the much-larger Turbo, Harley wanted nothing to do with the fountain and its chilly water.

After the race, I checked out the various vendors booths with some friends, watched dogs take on the agility course, visited the llamas, and got some group photos. A woman from the “Cats Rule” team gave me some cat toys and a team pin, and I promised I would sign up with them next year, even if my cats still decide to participate in Sleep In For The Animals rather than run it themselves.

Walk / Run For The Animals is a fun, friendly event, and it’s worth it just for the amazing assortment of great dogs of all kinds who show up to run, walk, or just mingle.

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About Joe Dudman (206 Articles)
Portland, Oregon native Joe Dudman has been running races since his sophomore year in high school, and has accumulated over 600 race shirts through the years. Although he has survived 8 marathons, Joe prefers shorter, faster races like 5Ks and the mile.

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