Runners in a half marathon must have thought they had gone barking mad when an Alabama dog got ‘fur-ther’ than expected and finished in the top 10, a paw-some performance. Ludivine, a two-and-a-half-year-old hound dog, snuck out of her owner’s yard in Elkmont, Alabama, on 16 January and wandered to the starting area of the town’s inaugural half marathon, the Trackless Train Trek.
Along with 165 runners, Ludivine then ran the half marathon, finishing in seventh place (unofficially speaking), despite wandering off during portions of the race to mingle with cheerleaders on the trail and to examine a rabbit’s carcass. Her owner, April Hamlin, did not realize Ludivine had even left the yard until friends who were volunteering at the race texted her photos of her dog.
Hamlin, a guidance counselor at Elkmont high school, told Runner’s World that Ludivine enjoys exploring Elkmont to the point where people in the town recognize her. But she was surprised Ludivine finished the race.
“She’s laid-back and friendly, so I can’t believe she ran the whole half marathon, because she’s actually really lazy,” Hamlin said.
Ludivine received a medal for her athletic feat. Race director Gretta Armstrong said people were not aware that Ludivine had run the entire race until the end.
“Everyone was actually quite surprised,” she told the Guardian. “We saw her at the start, but the way the course is laid out, we didn’t see the runners until the finish line.”
Tim Horvath, who came in sixth place, ran most of the race with Ludivine and told volunteers at the end of the race that the dog had had fun for more than an hour and needed water. Horvath, 49 and a resident of Huntsville, Alabama, told Runner’s World that Ludivine came up to him in the parking lot before the race.
Ludivine’s “little stunt” prompted race organizers to change the name for the 2017 half marathon to Elkmont’s Hound Dog Half Marathon, Armstrong said.