British middle-distance runner and recently qualified vet Laura Muir today launches the inaugural Simplyhealth Canine Run, which will take place on Saturday 20th October as part of the iconic Simplyhealth Great South Run weekend.
The Simplyhealth Great Run Series is looking for 100 dogs and their human owners to take part in the 2.5k run on the scenic Southsea seafront starting and finishing on Clarence Esplanade.
Laura, who is also the 1500m British record holder and World Indoor silver medallist, will be setting everyone on their way as honorary starter.
Laura said: “I am thrilled to be part of the very first Simplyhealth Canine Run. As well as being a runner I recently qualified as a vet and know how important it is to keep dogs fit and healthy. It’s vital that dogs get plenty of safe and fun exercise with their owners and for some breeds changing the usual walk to a run can be a really positive sensory experience. It can really help to increase the bond between pet and owner but you should always check with your vet first to make sure the training plan is suitable.”
The event is the first of its kind in the Simplyhealth Great Run Series. It will take place on the morning of Saturday 20th October before the Simplyhealth Great South 5k and the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great South Run. There will be a bespoke dog-only area in the event village.
Each dog will be accompanied by one owner to run the 2.5k course and once they cross the finish line, dogs will be rewarded with a collar tag and a treat, while their owners will receive a Simplyhealth Canine Run t-shirt.
Sally Clarke, Director of Vets at Simplyhealth, says the company is delighted to have put a spotlight on pets for the first time in Great Run Series history, saying “The Simplyhealth Great Run series promotes health and wellbeing and we have an amazing opportunity to also address the needs of the furry members of the family. Canine fitness is about diet, exercise and of course high quality veterinary care. Having veterinary professionals join the team of volunteers on the day and share their expertise in preventive health helps ensure those positive messages are heard by tens of thousands of people.”
Nicky Homes from The Great Run Company said: “It’s not just humans who love to run, dogs love it too. The introduction of the Simplyhealth Canine Run is the perfect opportunity for runners to lead an active and healthy lifestyle with the whole family, including their dog. The weekend attracts thousands of spectators, with many bringing along their much-loved family pet, so this is a fantastic way for dogs to get involved in the fun and take on a challenge of their own.”
To take part in the run, all participants – both dogs and their owners – will need to be well behaved and in a fit condition to run 2.5 kilometres. If this distance is longer than normal runs or walks, then a training plan should be put in place.
Whilst an on-site vet will be on hand on the day to deal with any emergencies, owners should also make sure that they consult their vet ahead of the run to check through their dog’s training plan and ensure they are in great shape to take part.
Tips on how to prepare for the Simplyhealth Canine Run
- Consult your vet ahead of starting your training plan
- Tailor your exercise to what is suitable for the breed/age/health status of your dog
- Like humans training for a long run, a dog’s fitness also grows steadily. So build up to the distance.
- If new to running the dog should be trained to walk nicely on a lead then build up to running via brisk walking and jogging.
- Use a relatively short lead and make sure your dog stays close to you and doesn’t run into the road or other people.
- Owners should always make sure their dogs are hydrated.
- Avoid hot weather. Dogs still need their exercise when it is warm but they can easily overheat so plan your exercise for early morning or late evening when it cools down.
- And if it is especially hot take care of their paws and avoid tarmac
Most importantly make sure your dog is enjoying the experience.
To enter or to find out more about the Simplyhealth Canine Run go to: www.greatrun.org/canine