21 Oct 2020
Merryn quietly celebrated the final kms of her Run Down Under journey last week with her dog and training partner, Norman.
"He’s the reason I started RDU back in 2018. After turning 11, he was no longer able to comfortably manage on our long runs. I signed up for RDU with the goal of completing it before old age got the better of him and as a way to focus on how many walks and runs we still had to enjoy together. 14,080km is a lot of walkies!
Not far into our journey Norman’s arthritis worsened and, despite the best veterinary treatment, it became clear that we were unlikely to finish RDU within his lifetime. Reluctantly, I looked into dog prams and found one designed for jogging that would hold Norman’s 30kg weight. I was so embarrassed to run with a dog in a pram at first but most people who stop us to talk about it have been very supportive. Norman loves his pram and lets me know when he wants to get in or out. Generally, when he’s in the pram, I run and when he gets out, we walk.
He is now nearly 14 and can still manage up to 10km on his own feet on a good day.
If it weren’t for RDU, we both would have taken it easy for the last three years and been a lot less fit and healthy than we are now at the end of our journey. I haven’t decided which map to start next. I am tempted to try to get Norman around New Zealand, too, as he’s in pretty good health at the moment but will most likely move on to the extended Australia map and focus on speed rather than distance for a change to try and improve my PBs.
Thank you for founding RDU and for all the time and effort you put into ‘running’ it!
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