A dog called Stormy has been awarded a medal after completing a half-marathon in outback Australia and winning the hearts of its human competitors.
The crossbreed diligently ran the 21-kilometre (13-mile) Goldfields Pipeline Marathon near the West Australian town of Kalgoorlie this month in two-and-a-half hours, the average time of participants.
“People were amused. It was a very friendly dog, and prior to the half-marathon, he was going around saying hello to a lot of people and when the race started, he took off with them,” race organiser Grant Wholey told AFP Tuesday.
“At the race stations he was having a little runaround and saying hello to the volunteers and participants, and then he would team up with another runner and keep on following the crowd.
“He was just out there having a trot through the bush and enjoying people’s company.”
Wholey said the black and brown canine came from a nearby Aboriginal community where school teachers said it was known to locals as Stormy.
Race organisers were told it belonged to the community rather than a single owner, and the one-year-old was impounded by rangers when no-one claimed him after the race.
Wholey said he visited Stormy last week to award a participation medal in the hope the publicity would see an owner come forward.
If not claimed in a week, the dog will be put up for adoption with some of the runners keen to take the pooch home, Wholey said.
While Stormy did not appear to have the traditional physical attributes of a marathon runner and had “legs as long as a Basset Hound”, he endeared himself to everyone, Wholey added.
“He looks a really friendly, lovable dog. He’ll make someone a good companion.”