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Race Day
16 loyal dogs join the NYC Triathletes in Central Park
Nemo and I race towards the finish line.

On Sunday, race day was finally here. Sixteen human-canine teams came from all over the country to run in the Iams Doggy Dash, which took place in conjunction with the New York City Triathlon. 

Nemo and I have been training for the Iams Doggy Dash since we signed up last year. Between running agility courses and romping around with his sister, Ella, Nemo is in pretty good shape. Even so, five miles is a considerable distance to run, especially on a hot July day.

My plan was to pull out if it was too hot, but fortunately we were running at 8 a.m. and I was impressed by the steps taken by race organizers to ensure that the dogs were safe.

Each pup had access to their own personalized water station before and after the race. Veterinarians from Animal Medical Center checked the dogs pre-, mid-, and post-race to make sure the canine participants were in good health. Some of the symptoms they looked out for were irregular heartbeat, blisters on the foot pads and high body temperature.

There were also plenty of stations throughout the course for rehydrating and a mandatory 5-minute break at the mid-point where dogs were given a sponge bath with cool water.

Nemo and I got lots of cheers and encouragement from the triathletes running alongside us and from the many spectators. In the end, the Rembrandt Cup (a big shiny red fire hydrant) was taken home by a Standard Poodle Eli and his teammate Anthony, but I was really proud of Nemo. I noticed a huge improvement in his fitness and endurance from when we started training. 

I know Nemo loves running, he always spins around and barks when he sees me reach for his running harness, but I also know he could care less if we participate in a race. Events like the Iams Doggy Dash really go to show the loyalty of our pups. I know Nemo will always be by my side, no matter what crazy activities I get myself into!


JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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