For some people, watching dogs run around a race track is a fairly normal occurrence.
A day down the dogs, an evening at the tracks, or something like that. I’ve never been so I’m not familiar with the dog racing lexicon.
Perhaps I’ve never been because dogs racing against other dogs doesn’t interest me that much.
Humans against humans is slightly different, I suppose, although I must admit, my interest in running is an inverse correlation with the distance being run. 100m sprint is watchable, but a marathon? Aside from the charity aspect, I don’t think it’s great TV.
So how do I get over this impasse? Footage from an athletics track in Chile may well have provided the answer.
At Chile’s National Athletics Championship last year, two guys were giving it all they had in a 400m race. As there was only two of them, it was highly likely at least one of them would come first, and at least one of them wouldn’t.
‘If you’re not first, you’re last!’ to quote the iconic Ricky Bobby. And in this case, you’d think he’d be right again.
However, just when it looks like one of the runners has it in the bag, a happy dog enters the race! Player three has entered the game! What sweet relief.
You can watch the lap dog (thanks) here:
It’s unclear where exactly the dog came from – I don’t think it was an intentional dog vs human race, but I’m wholly prepared to be proven wrong on that.
According to the description accompanying the video, race assistants had tried to restrain the dog, who’d already made several attempts to join in with other races.
This time however, the canine knew its chances were good, and as soon as the dog heard that starting gun, there was just no stopping it. And why would you want to?!
Is this an updated version of the classic fable the tortoise and the hare? The happy stray dog and the 400m runners?
If you haven’t watched it – spoiler alert – the dog wins. Which is as you’d expect really. However, if this dog vs human racing is going to take off, I think we’ll either need some slower dogs or work out some sort of head-start scenario.
Imagine Usain Bolt legging it down the track only for a Labradoodle to take it in a photo-finish? Don’t tell me you wouldn’t pay to watch that.
We could even do hurdles, or perhaps the steeplechase? We’d have to be careful though, too many obstacles and this would stray into Crufts territory, and we don’t want that. No one wants that.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.